Expansion of airport in  limbo due to land acquisition problem

Published On: December 6, 2022 06:00 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

DODHARA CHANDANI, Dec 6: The expansion of Majhgaun Airport in Kanchanpur district has not made any headway due to land acquisition problem.

The proposed site for expanding the airport has Ratna Garden to its south and a barracks of the Nepalese Army guarding the Shuklaphanta National Park. Unable to acquire the land for the airport, the expansion work is in limbo for years. 

The airport's runway will be 1,525 meters in length after the expansion. At present, it is 1,000 meters long. Since the ownership of the additional land needed for the airport expansion is not in the name of the airport, the construction work has been stalled, according to the Project Chief Minraj Ojha.

Ojha added that the Nepalese Army took the workers under control while they were working on the land owned by the army.  This has affected the construction work, he said.

The airport project needs to coordinate with three different ministries to get the ownership of the land owned by the army, he shared. "Land ownership related issues are under due process, '' he informed Republica.

The government had reached an agreement with the Nepalese Army to provide the necessary piece of land for the expansion of the airport. Although the government had published a notice in the Nepal Gazette stating that the land will be given to the airport, the land ownership certificate still belongs to the Nepalese Army. 

Ramesh Lekhak, a member of the House of Representatives elected from Kanchanpur-3, shared that efforts were underway to take forward the expansion of the airport. "Land acquisition certainly delayed the construction works but it will be resolved soon," he assured.

The Airport Reconstruction Struggle Committee’s coordinator Karan Pal spoke of the need to operate the airport at the earliest. 

Bhimdutta Municipality will contribute 15 percent for the expansion of the airport, while the Dodhara Chandani Municipality will contribute 30 percent, Sudurpaschim Government 25 per cent and Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal 50 per cent.

The government has already awarded a contract worth Rs 456.6 to Kancharam-KS-Uma and Company to upgrade the airport within three years.

The airport was in operation from 2034 BS to 2057 BS and was shut down during the emergency period citing security concerns.


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