As Nepal is heading towards the development of new Nepal, time demands new inclinations and insights from us. Things assembled several decades back in our country may not suffice the current standpoint. In order to make the impression of our country better, we need to shift on along with the period. Case in point is the Tribhuwan International Airport, one of the foremost things that definitely desire a well organized and elaborated consideration in the progression of impressive Nepal.
Every now and then we heed “First impression is the last impression,” and Tribhuwan International Airport, TIA is not an exception. Foreigners prepare a trip to Nepal with a wish of making it fruitful and bold. They invest a lot of time and money for the visit and in return anticipate value of every single minute. And it all starts from right there, TIA. At this instant, the matter is “Is our airfield unpolluted, roomy, informative, and easy to get to; enough to transmit the first impression?”
Referring back to the history of TIA, this airport was inaugurated by King Mahendra in 1955. The airport was renamed for the second time as Tribhuwan International Airport in 1964 and the last major change was made in 1975 when the runway was extended from 6,600 feet to 10,000 feet. Since then, in these 30+ years’ only slightest improvements have been terminated. Let’s envisage in figure the ups and downs that our ministers and Prime Ministers must have executed in this airport in this long period however, shamelessly brought no alteration to the airport and the country. Furthermore, negligible efforts implanted for the modernization of the airport. In yesteryears, each time Kings and Prime Ministers travel abroad they along with them bring back a particular change to the country. King Tribhuwan brought the idea of building an airport, King Mahendra brought the modern concept of making it international level but unfortunately in recent days this tradition has been forbidden.
On Dec 25, 2010 I and my friend from Singapore landed at TIA. While walking through the open ramps towards the building, we could see staffs busy talking to each other, scattered papers on the floor, the black and brown spots on the old floors, the pale wall with many marks, and a big poster completely written in Nepali. As I was interpreting my friend that the poster said, “Welcome” to her, we approached the immigration desk. We then heard a staff speaking gently, “All Nepalese passport this way and all other passports that way.” We filled out the respective immigration forms and got in the lines separately. At the same time as waiting for my turn I watched my friend, she was watching here and there and God knows what was cooking in her mind about the Airport and Nepal.
After we were through immigration with smile she said, “That’s it, couldn’t believe immigration could ever be this easy and quick.” We then headed towards the luggage claim, I was already familiar with the airport so didn’t have any problem finding the sections but had my friend been travelling alone how would she know where to go as there were no instructive signs and how could she understand the meaning of “swagatam” without any translation. Seeing that we were waiting for our luggage my friend asked, “Where to find the trolley?” And pitifully I replied, “I think we should be fine.” I preferred not to disclose her that as a matter of fact we didn’t have as much as necessary trolleys. The justification being her a tourist and regardless of the beauty of Nepal outside that building, she will always pin down on Nepal the same as she feels about the airport. Precisely the airports always clutch the first notion.
In response to the fact that the impression of Airport could be deeper than we imagine, recently, in one of the newspaper I saw that Dr Bhattarai has requested all NRNs to help Nepal in whatever ways they could. It was good of him. Probably, like me many more others must have felt the same about this airport and for some other, even poorer. Improving Nepal and investing for Nepal may not be a bigger issue here. What’s deeper is the accountability and admiration of what has been presented. Let us reflect back, since 1975, last official major change made to this airport, we all know that millions of people have been migrated already which means that there is substantial collection of Airport Tax. Nevertheless, where all that money sets off is out of sight to all of us. In 2009-2010 itself, nearly 3 lakh 50 thousands Nepalese have drifted. If the government can track and report just last year’s transactions then it would be more than adequate to hire some public to paint the walls, swab the floors and to assemble the sparkling and vigorous washrooms.
Likewise, if there is any least assurance that with the little money available, new posters will hang up on the airport; new signs will be displayed and new lounges and trolleys would be placed then there would be no recess of help. However, with the lack of positive reception and answerability we are pushing ourselves and our country more and more towards the cloudiness.
At last but not the least, together let us all visualize Tribhuwan International Airport growing bigger and better year after the year. Its fresh floors receiving more and more tourists each year, its new walls welcoming thousands more people day by day and airport as a whole acquiring a warm status in all possible ways as Tribhuwan International Airport is perhaps the first and very last reflection of Nepal foreigners hold everlastingly.