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Budget could not be allocated to some projects due to limited resources


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2023 Jun 26, 20:31, Kathmandu

Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Sudan Kirati stated that budget could not be allocated to many sectors due to the limited resources and legal glitches.

Minister Kirati said so while responding to the queries raised by parliamentarians on appropriation title for the coming fiscal year of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation in today's meeting of the House of Representatives.

Expressing remorse over the failure to include many programmes in the title related to the Ministry, Kirati shared that among the thousands of demands put with the Ministry, he had to hand-pick the projects and programmes and send the selected ones to the concerned Ministry due to budget constraint.

He pressed for overhauling the development framework of the country and viewed that there should be classification and prioritization of the projects in line with the essence and spirit of federalism.

Kirati emphasized conservation of natural and historical heritages such as Sagarmatha, Pashupatinath and Lumbini among others that, he said, the world could not replicate at all.

"The budget ceiling of the Ministry has been cut down by 45 per cent for the upcoming fiscal year 2023/24. Despite this, as many as programmes that could be implemented throughout the country have been included in the Ministry's annual programmes," he said.

Furthermore, the Minister assured that efforts were underway for effective operation of Bhairahawa-based Gautam Buddha International Airport and Pokhara International Airport.

He apprised the parliamentarians that the Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) had already begun flights on the Kuala Lumpur- Bhairahawa-Kathmandu route while the Jazeera Airways had recently postponed its flight owing to technical reasons.

Taking into account the need, the Nepal Airlines Corporation was going to procure three set of aircraft and assured that the process for procurement would be taken forward in accordance with the existing laws and in transparent manner, shared the Minister.

As for the NAC, the national flag carrier has currently Rs 48 billion in debt. The NAC had obtained a hefty loan to procure two set of wide-body aircraft and a narrow-body aircraft in the past, divulged Minister Kirati.

He informed that since the interest amount of the debt was exorbitant, it was necessary to restructure the interest rate. He clarified that there had been no tender or application to take the Chinese aircraft on lease. However, he added that the evaluation of the aircraft was underway.

Moreover, the Minister informed that the Sichuan Airlines of China had recently conducted a chartered flight to Pokhara International Airport from Chengdu in China which, he opined, had opened the door to commercial flights in future.

The technical team of Nepal and India had already discussed regarding operating flights through a new air route, according to Minister Kirati.

He informed that the process to construct proposed Nijgadh International Airport would proceed within the upcoming fiscal year 2023/24.

The Culture Minister said that physical infrastructures were being constructed in Pashupatinath Temple premises following the approval of a master plan made by the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT) while programmes were taken forward in phase-wise for the development of the Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha.

According to him, partnership will be forged with the private sector to develop and promote for development of physical infrastructures in the field of mountaineering and other adventurous sports.

Reconstruction of quake-damaged infrastructures would be completed within the upcoming fiscal year. Upgradation of airports in Biratnagar, Bharatpur, Nepalgunj and Dhangadi would be undertaken in the upcoming fiscal year, the Minister appraised the parliamentarians.

Furthermore, to make aviation safety of the country more reliable and effective, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal would be divided into a regulatory body and service-provider agency. A draft in connection to this had already been sent to the Council of Ministers.

The Ministry, according to Kirati, has also taken measures to prevent illegal encroachment of PADT's land at Gothatar in Kathmandu and was seeking out for Trust's additional land already illegally encroached by verifying the land owned by the Trust at present.

Furthermore, permission has been issued to private companies for the construction of a helipad in compliance with the prevailing laws.

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Minister for Culture Tourism and Civil Aviation Sudan Kirati House of Representatives
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