Govt says it’s taking Nijgadh Airport project forward despite SC order to stop it

Published On: May 30, 2022 02:57 PM NPT By: Muna Sunuwar  | @TheMunaSun

KATHMANDU, May 30: The government has said that the Nijgadh International Airport Project will be taken forward by preparing an investment structure for the project through Investment Board Nepal. The Supreme Court, however, has recently overturned the government’s decision to build the airport.

Presenting the budget for fiscal year 2022/23 on Sunday, Finance Minister Janardan Sharma announced to take the project development work forward through Investment Board Nepal by determining the investment structure for the construction of Nijgadh International Airport.

Conversely, the Supreme Court on May 26 passed a final verdict asking the government to find suitable alternatives to the Nijgadh Airport. Environmental activists and senior advocates had filed writ petitions demanding the nullification of the government's decision to construct the project in Bara. Activists have been alleging that the construction of the project would cause huge damage to the environment.

Minister for Urban Development, Ram Kumari Jhakri recently said neither the Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA) nor the Pokhara Regional International Airport can serve the purpose of the Nijgadh International Airport as both were destination airports.

The government has even listed the project under the national pride projects. Of the 360 million rupees allocated for Nijgadh International Airport, Rs 300 million has been spent so far. 

Last year, the government announced that it would select international investors to prepare a detailed project report of the airport. According to last year’s budget plan, land acquisition, site clearance and pre-construction work of airport construction should have been completed within FY 2021/22.

Meanwhile, the government has announced that the Gautam Buddha International Airport and Pokhara International Airport will be brought into full operation in the upcoming fiscal year- FY 2022/23. “To manage the pressure of the Tribhuvan International Airport and the construction of a second terminal building and taxiway, an additional Rs 2.20 billion has been allocated,” Minister Sharma said.

He further mentioned that based on the analysis of air and passenger pressure, the construction work of the second terminal building of the Gautam Buddha International Airport will be taken forward.

Similarly, the government said that a feasibility study will be carried out for the upgradation of the Dhangadhi Airport as a regional airport. “The construction of a provincial airport at Ramghat in Surkhet will be expedited.”

The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal will also be restructured and split into two autonomous entities as service provider and regulator.

The government has announced that airports including Dadeldhura, Belawa of Baglung, Dang, Tarigaun, Tikapur and Chaurjahari will be upgraded to enhance the quality of domestic air services and expand access. “Construction work of the Udayapur Airport will be started,” Sharma added. 

A total budget of Rs 12.24 billion has been allocated for aviation infrastructure development. 


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