Kathmandu, Jan 24,2024: Nepal Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat has said that Adani Group will invest in various public sectors in Nepal including airports and energy sector.
“The founder and chairman of the Adani Group, Gautam Adani had proposed to invest in Nepal, particularly in energy and airport management sectors,” Mahat said after having recently met the business magnate in Gujarat.
Mahat — who was recently in Gujarat to attend the Vibrant Gujarat Summit — met Adani, who in return has pledged to invest in Nepal particularly in the construction of the new airport near India-Nepal border and taking over the management of the Bhairawaha International Airport, Tribhuwan International Airport among others.
“I also invited him (Adani) to participate in the upcoming Nepal Investment Summit to be organised by the government of Nepal in April. He has committed that he will try his best to attend the summit,” Mahat told IANS.
Nepal has recently built two international airports in Bhairawaha and Pokhara but they have failed to conduct regular flights after India refused to provide air space for Nepali flights to operate.
The Pokhara International Airport was built with a Chinese loan while the airport in Bhairawaha was built with a loan extended by the Asian Development Bank but built by the Chinese contractors.
Mahat said that he (Adani) had expressed his intent to expand and operate the Tribhuwan International Airport in Kathmandu, taking management of the Bhairawaha International Airport and construction of the Nijgadh International Airport in Bara.
“The new airport in Nijgadh is expected to cost around $ 6.7 billion. We are ready to operate the international airports in Bhairawaha and will construct the airport in Nijgadh,” Mahat told IANS quoting Adani as saying.
Mahat said that Adani has also expressed intent to invest in hydropower projects in Nepal particularly in investing in Bheri and Karnali projects.
“A team of Adani Group had recently visited Kathmandu and held talks with Director General of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) Pradip Adhikari and discussed the possibility of investing in Nepal’s airport sector,” Mahat said.
He said that after being unable to operate the Pokhara Regional International Airport (PRIA) and Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA), which were built with loans, CAAN has decided to bring the private sector into the operation of three international airports including the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) and the construction of the Nijgadh International Airport.
“CAAN has sent a proposal to the Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation to allow four airports to be operated on the Public Private Partnership model. But CAAN has made up its mind to call for a global bidding process for leasing out the three international airports and construction of another international airport in Nijgadh that is located near the Nepal-India border,” Mahat said.
Nepal’s Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Sudan Kirati said that the government is studying to prepare a package to run all three international airports and construction of the new airport in Nijgadh.
“In the absence of regular international flights in Pokhara and Bhairawaha, we have to go for construction of another airport in Nijgadh. We are preparing a package so that all these three airports can do the business smoothly and the new airport in Nijgadh can be built,” Kirati said.