Local leaders expressing solidarity with locals. Photo: Sandesh Shrestha/Republica
POKHARA, Jan 13: Local representatives and leaders of different political parties of Kaski have expressed their solidarity with the locals who have been demanding that compensation for additional land to be acquired for Pokhara Regional Airport should be distributed as per the existing market rate.
Stating at an interaction organized in Pokhara on Sunday, they said authorities concerned should stop terrorizing people in the pretext of land acquisition for the regional airport.
Lawmaker Khagaraj Adhikari said that firmly believes that locals should be fairly compensated if their land has to be acquired for the airport. "They should get appropriate compensation as per the existing market rate," he said, adding: "I have been raising the issue in parliament since long and will continue to do so in the days to come as well."
Similarly, Man Bahadur Gurung, provincial lawmaker, Gandaki Province, said the concerned authority should take needful initiative to resolve the problem. "We all need airport. But the project should not trouble local people," he said, adding: "The locals should be comfortable while relinquishing their land plots. The government should make them comfortable by providing them with fair compensation."
Another provincial lawmaker, Dipak Koirala, said that locals should be paid full compensation at a go rather than in installments.
Also speaking at the interaction, Man Bahadur GC, mayor of Pokhara Metropolitan City, said many people are living in constant fear of getting displaced as the airport authorities has not stated how much land is needed for the project. "We are ready to take the lead to resolve the problem," he said, adding: "A team should be formed having representations from all tiers of the government as well as political parties, civil society and airport authorities. Together, we can find a package solution."
Likewise, Krishna KC, chairperson of Nepali Congress, Kaski, said people who owned 20-25 ropani of land are on the verge of becoming internal refugees due to series of land acquisitions. "Compensation should be as per the existing market rate as displaced people will have to pay market price to buy land and houses," he added.
Former president of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Anandaraj Mulmi, said he doesn't know why Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has not made detailed project report (DPR) of the airport public yet.
The airport project is preparing for its eight land acquisition. It plans to acquire 148 ropani this time.
Binesh Munakarmi, chief of the project, said the regional airport needs additional land for glide path of instrument landing system. According to International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Radio Regulations, glide path is a system of vertical guidance embodied in the instrument landing system which indicates the vertical deviation of the aircraft from its optimum path of descent.
"We had initially set aside 25 ropani for glide path. But it was insufficient. We also need additional land for fuel depot and security personnel," he argued.
China CAMC Engineering has won the contract to build the airport at an estimated cost of Rs 22 billion. China's EXIM Bank is providing the amount as a subsidized loan.