New Delhi: As four aircraft of the Indian Air Force carrying relief material to quake-hit Nepal were forced to return from Kathmandu, sources said it was partly due to piling up of relief material at the Tribhuvan International Airport.
"A lot of relief material has reached the Kathmandu airport but it is not going out which has resulted in a stockpile. The airport is anyhow small, so there is a lot of congestion," a senior defence ministry official told IANS.
"In addition, there were lot of other flights landing from different countries, so there was congestion," the official said, adding that the IAF flights will now land there after midnight.
"We are looking at a slot after midnight to land these aircraft," he said.
A home ministry spokesperson told IANS that the National Disaster Management Authority, which has been appointed the nodal agency for coordinating relief and rescue efforts, has sent a team to Nepal to coordinate distribution of relief material.
"NDMA is the nodal agency for coordinating efforts. A team led by the additional secretary (B.K. Mathur) has reached Nepal for coordination, to see whatever is sent is accounted for and utilised," the spokesperson said.
Defence Secretary R.K. Mathur told the media on Monday evening that the Indian Air Force has shifted out MI 17 helicopters from the Kathmandu airport to a nearby place to reduce congestion.
Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar said: "Kathmandu airport is busy as aircraft with relief materials are coming in from various countries. Then you have rescue planes landing and taking off... the situation is critical at the airport."
Four IAF flights, two C-17s carrying communication equipment and water, one C-130J and one IL-76 carrying NDRF teams that flew to Kathmandu on Monday, had to return to Delhi due to congestion at the Kathmandu airport.
"IAF reschedules its relief planes for Nepal to low density time to avoid congestion at Kathmandu," defence ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar tweeted.