Govt told to start work on Nijgadh airport without further delay
October 2, 2018 05:45 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, Oct 2: A parliamentary committee has directed the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) to begin work on Nijgadh International Airport (NIA) at the earliest.
A meeting of National Concern and Coordination Committee of parliament held on Monday directed the ministry start construction work immediately keeping in view the needs of the country. It also told the ministry to address issues related to the airport project raised by general public and other stakeholders.
The airport project is on the headlines these days with environment experts and general public questioning the rationale of building a mega airport by clearing valuable forest and destroying natural wildlife corridor.
Likewise, the committee has directed the government to complete all construction works of Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA) and bring it into operation within a year. It also told the ministry to resolve land acquisition issues to ensure that the international airport project in Pokhara is completed within the stipulated timeframe.
Meanwhile, the committee also directed the ministry to make public property details of Pashupati Area Development Trust and make collection of donations and offerings at the Pashupati temple transparent.
Speaking at the meeting, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari said that there was no alternative to constructing Nijgadh airport. "It is better to embark on this project than waste some more years looking for other options," he said, adding that the government was committed to building the Nijgadh airport by putting minimum possible pressure on environment.
Upon completion, Nijgadh airport will be the only international standard airport in the country, he said in the meeting, adding that it could be developed as a transit hub for the region. "This is why we need Nijgadh airport and it should be built at any cost," Adhikari added.
Likewise, Krishna Prasad Devkota, secretary at MoCTCA, said that Nijgadh airport will be the long-term solution to air traffic congestion that has been plaguing Nepal in recent years. "Trees will be chopped down as per the need," Devkota said, adding that the airport will be build under BOOT (build, own, operate, transfer) model.
He also said that it will take at least two years to make necessary preparation and five to seven years for construction.
Devkota also claimed that all the political parties and stakeholders are in favor of constructing the airport at Nijgadh.