Convert loan for Pokhara International Airport into grant: Gandaki Province Chief Minister

Nepal has signed a $22 million soft loan agreement with China for the construction of the Pokhara airport. A big question is: Can the airport generate enough business to payback the loan with interest?

NL Today

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Kathmandu: Gandaki Province Chief Minister Krishna Chandra Pokhrel has urged the Chinese government to convert the loan it provided for the construction of the Pokhara Regional International Airport project into grant, reported the state-run news agency Rastriya Samachar Samiti. 

In his address to the inaugural ceremony of the airport here today, the Chief Minister said, “I urge the government of China through the Chinese Embassy here to convert 75 percent of the total loan into grants.” 

It may be noted that some Rs 22 billion had been taken as a loan from the Exim Bank of China for the project implementation.

On the occasion, the Chief Minister said with the completion of the project, the 47-year-long dream of Pokhara had come true. 

As he said, in the first phase, the airport should have its services for the South Asia and for the Western countries in the second phase. He hoped the tourist arrival in the city would significantly increase with the operation of the airport. “Now Pokhara should focus on lengthening the tourist stay at least for 15 days.”

He added that an assembly hall and a cricket ground with international standards were also the need for Pokhara, urging Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ to allocate the budget for the same. 

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ has inaugurated the Pokhara Regional International Airport amidst a grand ceremony in Pokhara on Sunday. 

On the occasion, the Prime Minister unveiled a plaque marking the official inauguration of the airport.

The Prime Minister arrived in Pokhara this morning to attend the inauguration ceremony. He is accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Bishnu Poudel.