CAAN asks activists not to scuttle Nijgadh airport project (with video)

Published On: September 16, 2018 07:25 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Sept 15: Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has said that there was no alternative to building the Second International Airport (SIA) at Nijgadh, as proposed by the government, despite scorn from the environmental activists that building the airport will destroy trees. 

The CAAN has said that the airport will be constructed at the place proposed and decided by the government. “Looking at the growth of passengers in the world each passing years, Nepal needs another international airport. The government is working for it,” said Pradip Adhikari, director of CAAN. 

Adhikari said that it was pointless to make issues about deforestation at the proposed site for the international airport. “The government has already made a commitment to take environment and development simultaneously,” he said. 

“According to the government guideline, development projects should plant 25 trees in replacement of a grown-up tree that is cut down. We will take our steps accordingly. We cannot take any step against the law,” he added. 

The proposed site for SIA construction is covered by almost 90 percent of forest area that is spread over 80 square kilometers. Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) has already been submitted to the Ministry of Forest and Environment and also been accepted.

According to the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, around 250,000 trees are to be cut down to clear the airport site. Tourism Minister Rabindra Adhikari has kept the airport project under top priority. 

“This is just the first phase of airport construction. Other infrastructures will be developed in future as per requirement,” he added, speaking at a talk program organized by Nepal Forum of Environment Journalists (NEFEJ). “The government is not speeding up to cut down trees. Airport construction is not a joke, we have to take every action step by step.” 

He also urged environment experts and other stakeholders not to make negative comments about the international airport on the social media. “Raising voice on the social networking sites negatively about the airport will not give a way out. 

If you have any problem with the project, rather come to us and have a dialogue than make negative comments about it,” he said, adding that the CAAN will not do anything against the Environment Protection Act. 

The Ministry of Forests and Environment is also working on a guideline for relaxing the laws to allow the implementing agency -- Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation -- to compensate for the forest loss so that the Ministry of Forests itself will plant trees and compensate for the damaged trees. However, this provision, if at all, will be in place only for national pride projects.

Environment experts are raising voice against cutting down trees to clear land to construct the airport. They are requesting the government to look for an alternative site than to cut down trees.


Leave A Comment