CAAN Awaits Passage Of Bills To Split Organisation Into Two
Kathmandu- Even a year after being presented to the National Assembly, two bills relating to the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) still await the passages of bills that are crucial to getting Nepal removed from the European Union’s blacklist.
The European Union placed Nepal on its Air Safety List in 2013 citing safety concerns and since then, Nepali carriers have been banned from flying over Europe.
A prerequisite to getting Nepal removed from the list is splitting CAAN into two entities – one service provider and another regulator – to ensure proper enforcement of safety rules without any conflict of interest.
Accordingly, the then Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Bhattarai had presented the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal Bill and the Air Service Authority of Nepal Bill to the upper house of the parliament to divide the present CAAN into the two respective bodies on February 23, 2020. However, they have not moved forward from the Legislation Management Committee.
According to the information provided on the official website of the National Assembly, copies of the bill were distributed to Assembly’s members on February 24, but they have, so far, not entered the general discussion, let alone clause-by-clause.
Rajan Pokhrel, director general of CAAN, told that the bills required to be passed by the parliament before any step towards breaking the civil aviation agency could be taken.
“We do not have a set time limit. We need to wait for the parliamentary process to complete before we can move forward,” he said.
The bills’ fate had become uncertain after the President dissolved the House of Representatives on December 20. “Because the bills were too important to be left in limbo, we had asked the government to withdraw them from the National Assembly and introduce them through ordinances,” Pokhrel informed of the situation. “But, the parliament has now been reinstated and we can get them endorsed through the proper channels. The ordinance option is no longer necessary.”
Pokhrel said that the two bills needed to be passed soon to get Nepal off Europe’s blacklist and enable our carriers to fly over the continent’s skies. “It was something we should have done ourselves but didn’t and outsiders raised questions. Now, we should focus on getting it done as soon as feasible,” he said.
The cabinet had given the Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation the responsibility to draft legislation to establish two separate aviation-related authorities in July 2019.