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Caan flouts rules in awarding lease

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jan 25, 2017- The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan) has decided to lease out its land at Sinamangal to the Bed Upreti Trust without following procedure.

A Caan board meeting held on January 16 gave the go-ahead to management to lease its property measuring 9,000 square metres for 10 years. The trust plans to establish an aviation museum on the land. 

It has purchased a decommissioned Airbus A330 aircraft of Turkish Airlines that crashed landed at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in March 2015. The trust was inspired to set up an aircraft museum in Kathmandu after the success of its earlier project in Dhangadhi.

According to Caan spokesperson Birendra Prasad Shrestha, they are in the process of signing a memorandum of understanding with the trust to lease the land. He said that Caan had a right to lease out its land with the board’s approval. 

“The lease amount will be based on the Airport Charges Rules 2067.”

However, government officials said that public enterprises have no legal right to lease or sell land to private parties without the government’s approval. 

“Caan has not followed procedure to lease the land to the trust,” said a Tourism Ministry official. He said that public enterprises needed to obtain the Cabinet’s approval to lease land. It should also involve potential tenants through open competition. 

After Nepal Food Corporation started leasing its land to private parties indiscriminately and sparked an outcry, the Cabinet issued an order on June 30, 2010 forbidding public enterprises from leasing or selling property without the government’s approval. 

This is not the first time that Caan has flouted regulations. In 2009, it invited bids to operate an advance parking system at TIA and awarded the contract to a private company. 

Although, Caan obeyed the rule to award the contract through open competition, it had not received approval from the government to lease the land.

“The case went to the Cabinet’s Finance Committee which cancelled Caan’s plan,” said a former Caan director general. 

“The committee took nearly four years to approve the lease.” 

The Bed Upreti Trust has planned to set up a museum within six months at a cost of Rs50 million. In 2014, the trust opened Nepal’s first aircraft museum in Dhangadhi with the aim of educating visitors about aviation. 

The museum is housed in a decommissioned Fokker aircraft of the now defunct Cosmic Air.

Published: 25-01-2017 10:34

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