Nepali Times Asian Paints
From The Nepali Press
Deplorable airport



AHMAD ISKANDAR
The government has announced next year as Nepal Tourism Year and is planning to bring in one million tourists to the country. The campaign will formally start in four months, but given the sorry state of the country's only international airport, the ambitious goal sounds like a big joke. I was in the airport recently on my way to Bangkok. In the check-in wing, a tourist came out of the toilet, cursing. There was no water or toilet paper in the restroom. I wondered if government officials are aware of the deplorable condition of these toilets. But apparently, high-ranking officials only pass through the VVIP room and use the toilet there. They are clearly not aware of the inhospitable conditions passengers and tourists have to tolerate. Without regulation and monitoring, things are bound to be unbearable once the expected tourists come in. Is this how Nepal Tourism Year will succeed?

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1. Indra B Karki

Tourism Year or Not ....

The real problem is a systemic one where no related ministries and related departments, have the will nor the foresight to make any basic things right; nor are made accountable. Sure, it is always a budgetary issue & until some foreiggn donar doles out anything the Nepalese Government never steps up. A black eye to Nepal's image starts the moment one steps into the international airport terminal.

Cleanliness and sanitation are only part of the problem.  To me (a Nepalese who passes through at least once a year) & many others who I have talked to, a bigger issue in the airport are the representatives of immigration & custom and revenue departments and the security officials, & their respective lack of training, language skills, professionalism and unscrupulous motives (to earn some quick $$); along with the lack of proper modern equipment (i.e. computers); paperwork & stationery etc. It seems that these people have been parachuted in here to serve their own intersest along with their master's who got them the airport position;  rather than be Nepalese ambassadors to hosts and alike. No wonder no one wants to stay in Kathmandu.

Of course, there is the wretched stench as Yosadha mentions, the one (or is it two...wow) rusty creaky luggage carousel, lack of luggage carts (mostly hoarded by airport goons), and the plethora of people waiting to grab you once you finally get out. This is only getting out into Nepal. The terminal on the way out would have fared slightly better except for Nepalese officials selectively harassing unsuspecting Nepalese (mostly) leaving abroad, again to make a quick buck ($$$). Public officials in the guise of vultures. It is actually quite common. These common Nepalese country folk are the ones who should be felicitated for keeping the country afloat with their hard work, but who cares for them ? Even a nation such as Phillipines recognizes such people for their true contribution to the nation collectively. But in Nepal we do it medieval-style.

One solution to this mess could be engaging and employing the Youth of our country who are not as tainted (more ethical), are computer literate & are more worldly, have better international language skills and so on; as well as and invest in making basic improvemnts to airport infrastructure.

It again boils down to will again ....does it not ???

 

 



LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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