Reconstruction work of Gokuleshwor Airport in the Baitadi-Darchula border area, which has been closed for nearly three decades, has started. Reconstruction work of the airport has been started with a contract agreement of Rs 35.8 million. KS Construction Pvt. Ltd. Dhangadhi is rebuilding the airport.
According to Rajendra Ayre, the site in charge of the company, the work of cutting grass has been done at the airport using a scythe, and now the work of cutting and filling is being carried out at the airport. He said, "Filling is being done at the airport now. The work of filling and gabion will be completed in a year."
Suresh Shrestha, a local, said that if the airport in Gokuleshwor reopen, the tourism services would be improved. Citizens of Darchula, Baitadi, and Bajhang districts will also get the service. He said, "The airport will facilitate the transportation service of Darchula, which is a remote area, and will play an important role in our prosperity."
The Gokuleshwar Airport, which had been in operation since 1989, was completely closed on 1993. Due to the lack of air transport facilities, it is difficult to reach Darchula district headquarters, which is about 350 kilometers by road from the state capital. In addition, patients who need to be referred had to lose their lives prematurely due to untimely treatment.
When the airport was closed, it was turned into a pasture and playground. The building has not been rebuilt since the then Maoists set fire to the airport tower, terminal building, and site office during the conflict. Due to the inability to operate the airport since the conflict period, the economic development of the district and the promotion of tourism have incurred huge losses.
The only airport in Darchula, which has been turned into a closed meeting place, conference hall, playground for locals, and livestock grazing area, is currently undergoing filling and gabbing work under the initial phase.
Khatri, a local, said that he was happy with the preparations for the operation of the airport. He said, "If Gokuleshwar Airport is brought into operation, the potential of the district in terms of trade, social and employment will increase. The operation of this airport will definitely help in the promotion and expansion of tourist destinations like the Api base camp, Malikarjun, Vyasa cave, Tinker, Duhu bungee jump, Siddatopi, Uku's Palace, and so on. ” He also said that he is confident that Darchula could be an excellent destination for domestic and foreign tourists.
Hem Bista, a businessman from Gokuleshwar, is confident that the economic situation will improve if the airport comes into operation. Hotelier Bhuvan Bhandari has said that it will help in the development of the tourism sector. The airport, which has a lot of potential for tourism, will be able to attract internal and external tourists. Local Suresh Shrestha said, "The work should be completed on time. The budget has been reduced. It is necessary to make the work satisfactory by allocating an additional budget. The monitoring body should also monitor from time to time."