Two Indian construction companies are in the fray for a project to improve Nepal's lone international airport in Kathmandu.
New Delhi's IRCON International Limited and an Indo-Nepal joint venture between Mumbai's Valecha Engineering Ltd and local partner YP Construction are among the six companies that have qualified to bid for the runway and taxiway overlay work at Tribhuvan International Airport.
The directorate of the Tribhuvan International Airport improvement project which is overseeing the work - said the entire project cost would be borne by the civil aviation authority of Nepal but declined to mention a figure on grounds that it was a confidential matter.
The bidding process is expected to take about two-and-a-half months.
The Indian companies will face stiff competition from the Chinese. The other four competitors are Sino-Nepal joint ventures.
Unlike the Indian companies, all four have some presence in Kathmandu valley. They are China Railway Engineering Corporation partnered by Nepali Tundi Construction, China Tiesiju Civil Engineering Group with Kalika Construction as its local partner, a joint venture between China Gezhouba Water and Power Group Corporation and Nepal's PS Construction, and Sinohydro Corporation with local partner Chitwon Co-Enepal.
Sinohydro Corporation hit the headlines this month when the local media reported that it had taken Nepali workers to work on a project in Oman without the permission of the Nepal government.
Over 400 Nepali workers are said to have been left stranded in Oman by the Chinese company that ran into trouble with the local authorities about the project cost.
The last time the runway and taxiway were overlaid was in 1996 when the contract went to a Chinese company, Sietco.