Why Nepal is Investigating an Airport Built by China

By Taaza Facts

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Why Nepal is Investigating an Airport Built by China

Nepal is Investigating an Airport Built by China – Meanwhile, in Nepal, China is under investigation. Kathmandu has put a Chinese project under the microscope. This is about the Pokhara airport. Pokhara is Nepal’s second biggest city. In January this year, it got a new international airport built by China. However, it turned out to be a dead trap.

This is a classic case of China’s predatory lending. China makes big promises and commissions massive and unsustainable projects. In the end, the host country is left with a giant debt burden. Most nations just accept Beijing’s terms, some even compromise their sovereignty and submit to China’s bullying. But Nepal has decided to take a stand. Their anti-corruption agency is investigating this project, and Kathmandu has good reasons to order this investigation. This project has many loopholes. The first one is its practicality and viability.

Did Nepal even need an airport like this?

The answer is no. This is an international airport, but Pokhara does not get many international passengers. The airport opened on the first of January 2023, and the first international flight landed on the 21st of June this year, a full 6 months after opening. And it happened to be a Chinese flight bringing athletes for a goodwill boat tour. So traffic is clearly a problem if you have one flight in 6 months.

This project has been jinxed from the word go. It was first conceived way back in 1975 but stalled for many reasons like public opposition, dodgy contracts, and in the final stages, the Wuhan virus pandemic. So it took almost 50 years for the airport to see the light of day. And when it did, China was quick to take credit for it. China declared it as a flagship project of the China-Nepal Belt and Road Cooperation. But remember, the project was commissioned and pitched some 50 years back before the Belt and Road Initiative even existed. Yet China is calling it a success of the BRI, and that statement has not aged well because, for Nepal, it’s more of a liability than a success.

Like with most BRI projects, the airport was built with Chinese loans to the tune of $216 million. These loans came from the Import-Export Bank of China. The interest payments amount to $3.2 million annually. So Kathmandu has to pay Beijing $216 million as the principal amount and $3.2 million every year as interest. And that’s not all, Nepal also has to bear the operational cost of this project, which is not cheap for an international airport.

Why Nepal is Investigating an Airport Built by China
Why Nepal is Investigating an Airport Built by China

So here is what Nepal has been left with – a dead piece of infrastructure, a large loan, and a loss-making airport. They’ve ordered an investigation. Investigators recently visited the airport and assessed its construction quality, and there were at least 20 complaints about the construction quality. The contractor for this project was a Chinese company called China CAMC Engineering, which is part of CAC, a state-owned Chinese conglomerate that builds tools for construction.

Beijing has defended the project, saying that China CAMC implemented strict quality standards. Nepal will take some time to come out with a full report, but once it’s ready, Kathmandu should make this report public to expose China and its predatory infrastructure projects.

Taaza Facts

I am a multifaceted content creator with expertise in blogging, Finance, and Cryptocurrency reviews. My creative journey involves weaving captivating stories in blogs, designing aesthetically pleasing and functional websites, and dissecting the nuances of cinema. We are dedicated to sharing our passion and insights with a global audience.

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