Construction of Pokhara Int’l Airport affected by Chinese labors’ illness « Khabarhub
Monday, July 15th, 2024

Construction of Pokhara Int’l Airport affected by Chinese labors’ illness

KATHMANDU: The construction work of the Pokhara International Airport has been affected by the sudden illness of two of the Chinese workers.

When two of the Chinese workers who have returned to Nepal last week got sick, the Nepali workers protested citing health risks all workers were exposed to due to those arrived recently from China. The agitating workers blamed the authority for manipulation of the facts.

After the protest, the China CMC Engineering agreed to put the sick workers in isolation.

Some 71 Chinese came to Nepal for the airport construction project on March 4, 5, and 6 this year. Although nine of the workers in the team are the ones who had been to China on vacation, 62 have come for the first time. There are more than 190 Chinese working in the project.

According to the sources, the sick Chinese were sent to the workplace immediately after their arrival here. After the protest of the Nepali workers, they are sent back to isolation. Earlier, those said to have been in the isolation could come out and meet the person they liked.

After the regular media follow-up and the protest from the workers, the isolation of the suspects has been observed strictly.

As two of the Chinese returning from the mainland went sick, Nepali workers at the construction felt their health at high risks and stopped working citing the health risks.

The sick Chinese deployed at work are said to be the crane operator and the loader driver. According to the sources, 7 Chinese deployed at the workplace have got some health complications.

This has hiked the number of Nepali leave seekers and some those who are denied the leave have even quitted the job.

Recently, more than 7 workers have resigned from their job. Most of the people quitting jobs are tipper drivers.

However, Chakra Bahadur Budha, the Chief District Officer of Kaski claimed that all Chinese sent to work were in good health.

Speaking to Khabarhub, he said that they have decided not to send them to quarantine as they had already been in quarantine in China. “As we came to know that they had been in quarantine in China, we have decided not to make it compulsory here,” Budha said, “yet, as a precautionary move, we have kept them in isolation.”

Amidst the lack of mounting tension, the work environment is disrupted. The local administration had not shown its presence at the project site till Monday.

In the meantime, Binesh Munakarmi, the project manager dismissed the news of any illness of the Chinese workers. “All the workers who have come to the project site are the ones who have got the health certificate from China,” he told Khabarhub, adding, “They were given certificates after they stayed in Chinese quarantine and showed no symptoms of infection.”

He claimed that all necessary precautions are taken and added that those new arrivals are kept in isolation for 10 more days.

According to him, their temperature is minutely observed and to date there have been no signs of fever as well.

Despite his claim, the project sources reveal that two Chinese workers have got high fever, one of the serious symptoms of   COVID-19.

One day prior to the Home Ministry’s decree repealing the on arrival provision of five countries including China, the Chinese workers involved in the project had arrived in Nepal.

According to the immigration sources, more than 100 Chinese workers have come to Pokhara. The government declared the suspension of ‘on arrival visa’ provision the day after their arrival. The new restriction is effective from Mar.7 to Mar. 31.

Keeping widespread of coronavirus in mind the government has suspended the ‘on arrival visa’ provision for the nationals of China, South Korea, Japan, Iran, Italy, France, Germany and Spain.

According to the new provision, every foreigner coming to Nepal should produce a clean chit against coronavirus.

The provision seems neglected as the claim of the Department of Immigration (DoI) and District Administration Office Kaski contradict with the sayings of health authorities in Kaski. The health authorities say that they have not got any health certificates from those workers.

The Supreme Court has issued a Mandamus demanding the precaution on government part and has said the government should go for suspending all international flights from Mar 12 if deemed necessary.

Most of the construction materials and the workers required for Pokhara International Airport are brought from China.

The construction company has to complete and hand over this 217 million dollar project by Jul 15, 2021.

Prime Minister KP Oli had inaugurated the project on Apr. 13, 2016 amidst a grand ceremony attended by the senior leaders of all mainstream political parties.
The agreement for the construction was made on May 22, 2014.

The loan dispute about the money to be used in the project has delayed the inauguration of the project for nearly a year.

Finally, The Axiom Bank of China had agreed to provide the loan under the condition that the project would use Chinese skills and Chinese construction materials.

An argument over the overestimation of the construction cost and the debt-trapping conditions of the Chinese donors had delayed the project.

As a soothing attempt, the Chinese side had promised to convert 25% of the loan into a grant then.

Nepal has to pay a 2% interest in the amount remained after the deduction of a 25% grant from the principal loan.

According to the agreement, Nepal should clear the loan in 20 years at the ratio of two installments in a year.

The loan payment should be started from the day PIA comes into operation. Provided the loan does not suffice, the Civil Aviation Authority is supposed to arrange for the amount required.

Publish Date : 11 March 2020 16:27 PM

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