An investigation has been initiated by Nepal's Commission for the Investigation of Abuse and Authority into the Pokhara International Airport.
The $216 million airport, considered a flagship project financed and built by Chinese state-owned companies, has come under scrutiny due to concerns over its ability to generate revenue for loan repayment and the quality of its construction, as reported by Indian Express.
Opened in January, the airport, located in Nepal's second-largest city, Pokhara, has struggled to attract regular international flights.
The project, backed by loans from China, specifically China CAMC Engineering, has raised questions about inflated project costs and a lack of adherence to quality standards.
Nepali officials have reportedly requested Beijing to convert the loans into grants to alleviate the financial burden, but China is yet to agree to such terms.
The investigation gains significance in the context of global scepticism surrounding China's overseas infrastructure projects.
The Pokhara airport, touted as a flagship under China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with Nepal, exemplifies the challenges faced by developing nations in repaying Chinese loans and ensuring the integrity of such projects.
The BRI, a cornerstone of President Xi Jinping's diplomatic and economic strategy, has distributed an estimated $1 trillion in loans and grants, aimed at fostering ties and infrastructure development globally.
However, concerns have grown about the costliness and quality of these projects, with instances in Sri Lanka and Malaysia illustrating the challenges of repayment and project sustainability.
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