As a major donor to Nepal, Japan should have provided us with modern technology to improve our seaworthiness
Nepal has witnessed a large number of air crashes in recent times thanks to the difficult terrain, high mountains, deep valleys and poor air navigation systems in place, especially on the way to the Kathmandu valley. There has not been a single year without an air accident. The air accident investigation reports, carried out by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), are hardly implemented to ensure the airworthiness of the country according to the standard set by the international ICAO.
The European Union (EU) has banned Nepalese airlines from flying in its airspace since 2013, citing poor air security measures taken by the government. The EU ban on Nepalese airlines for so many years has caused a huge loss, especially for the state-owned Nepal Airlines Corporation, and the move has also dealt a heavy blow to the country’s tourism sector. .
The latest report on the growing number of air accidents in Nepal has also been blamed for the poor terminal radar installations installed at TIA and the air navigation system placed atop Bhattedanda with a Japanese grant. Radar installations were first installed at TIA in 1998 as part of a Japanese grant following two fatal international air crashes in 1992.
The radar installations were of Japanese origin, although they did not have a minimum safe altitude warning system to warn air traffic controllers in a timely manner when a flight was approaching terrain in a dangerous manner.
As a result, they were unable to prevent further air accidents, which were largely preventable.
For example, another Japanese grant in 2014 provided Nepal with two radars – one to replace the aging TIA installation and another to be installed at the top of Bhattedanda en route to Kathmandu.
The en-route radar installation was supposed to improve aviation safety over 60% of Nepal’s airspace, but failed to prevent accidents during the en-route flight phase.
It has now been revealed that the Air Traffic Management (ATM) system which processes radar data, supplied by Nippon Electric Company Ltd. (NEC Japan), came from a little-known Czech company called ALES. The main question here is why NEC Japan provided non-Japanese solution to Nepal? If Japan had supplied Japanese-made ATM systems, which are better than ALES, Nepal would have been able to significantly improve its air traffic system and minimize the increasing number of air accidents. Initially, it was claimed that the ATM system was ready for the future with promised capabilities of integration with the satellite surveillance system being developed around the world and technically known as Automatic Dependent Surveillance Mode. broadcast (ADS-B).
When CAAN decided to install ADS-B in western Nepal to improve aerial surveillance coverage beyond that of the en-route radar at TIA, it ran into technical issues where the certification of ADS-B system security got stuck due to non-cooperation. by NEC Japan. As a major donor to Nepal, Japan should have provided us with advanced technology to improve our seaworthiness. The Japanese government is expected to launch an investigation into what went wrong with the installation of the radar and ATM system in Nepal.
Nepal’s education system has proven to be unproductive, with hundreds of thousands of students leaving school every year without any skills to market themselves in the highly competitive job market.
Nepalese schools mainly prepare students for higher education, which most students in rural areas have little access to. It is not that the government has not tried to introduce vocational and technical education in schools. By the 1970s, the new education plan introduced vocational subjects in all schools, with the intention that students would have the necessary professional skills to become self-employed if they did not make it to university. . But the plan failed miserably for lack of funds and the inability to seriously implement the goals.
The government is now considering implementing the One School One Entrepreneurship program to teach students different skills in addition to imparting academic knowledge. To be implemented by the National Youth Council, it intends to involve students in extracurricular activities such as fishing and horticulture.
If the program is implemented seriously, it could promote entrepreneurship not only in the household but also in the community as a whole.
A version of this article appears in print, September 23, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.