After Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, Nepal is facing a hard time with the quality of Chinese infra products even as the visiting Nepali Foreign Minister was assured $ 15 billion grant assistance by China.
A batch of Chinese aircraft that Nepal had imported have been sitting on the ground for more than two years and gathering rust, just as the Ministry of Finance has started paying back interest on the loans for the planes, Kathmandu-based sources told ET.
The Chinese planes, the first of which arrived in 2014, cost more money to operate than they were purchased for, and Nepal Airlines was facing losses. The five planes—three 17-seater Y12e aircraft and two 56-seater MA60 aircraft—are parked at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. Another one crashed in Nepalgunj. The planes are in unflyable conditions, sources claimed.
As corrosion weakens the structural integrity of aircraft, it could lead to costly repairs and pose major safety hazards, sources said, adding, the planes don’t comply with long-term storage procedures and this will reduce the value of the planes.
In 2012, Nepal Airlines signed a pact with Aviation Industry Corporation of China to purchase six aircraft—two MA60 and four Y12e. Beijing extended assistance worth Nepali Rupee Rs 6.67 billion. Out of this Rs 2.94 billion was utilised for one MA60 and one Y12e aircraft. The other aircraft was purchased with a loan provided by China’s EXIM Bank.
Meanwhile China reportedly pledged ?15 billion in grant assistance to Nepal to invest in various projects after visiting Foreign Minister Narayan Khadka held wide-ranging talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Wednesday during his visit to China.
“The two Foreign Ministers took stock of overall aspects of Nepal-China relations and agreed to promote further cooperation in various sectors, including trade, connectivity, investment, health, tourism, poverty alleviation, agriculture, disaster management, education, culture, and people-to-people exchanges, among others,”
the Nepalese Foreign Ministry said in a statement in Kathmandu.
Wang, also a State Councillor, announced that China will provide a ?15 billion grant to Nepal to invest in projects selected by Nepal in 2022. The Chinese side also assured Nepal that Beijing will soon start the construction work of the second phase of Kathmandu Ring Road Improvement Project.