House panel directs govt to remove legal obstacles to Nijgadh Airport

Published On: May 30, 2022 05:35 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, May 30: The International Relations Committee, House of Representatives, has instructed the government to remove legal hurdles regarding the implementation of Nijgadh Airport construction project and resume it at the earliest. 

 A meeting of the Committee took place at the Singha Durbar today and reached the conclusion that the decision to halt a large investment project initiated after a long study was deemed inappropriate from any angle. 

According to the Committee’s President Pabitra Niraula, the meeting decided to instruct the government to clear the legal obstructions and promptly resume the construction of the airport which is a project of national pride. 

The understanding of the meeting was that the project was capable of promoting the national interest and strengthening the nation's economy and the decision to suspend it would cause an additional loss to the nation that has already suffered a burden of external and internal loans.  

It may be noted that the Supreme Court on last Thursday issued an order directing the government to cease the construction works. With the court’s verdict, confusions hover over the implementation of the project. 

It may be noted that the government in its policies and programs and the budget for the upcoming fiscal year 2079/ 80 BS (2022-23) has announced plans to continue with the airport construction works. 

The committee members including Bhim Bahadur Rawal, Prakash Man Singh, Dibyamani Raj Bhandari, Pushpa Bhusal, Sarala Kumari Yadav, Surendra Kumar Karki, Sudan Kirati, Renuka Gurung, Narad Mani Rana, Chandata Kumari, Dipak Prakash Bhatta, Prem Prasad Tulachan and Sujita Shakya univocally demanded the resumption of the airport project after resolving legal hurdles.  

Stating that the Supreme Court's verdict has put the matter in difficulty, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Prem Bahadur Ale said that there is no alternative to the resumption of the project. He referred to over Rs 3 billion spent on the project by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) and the transfer of over 8,050 hectares of land in the name of the Airport. 

The project’s master plan and environmental impact assessment have already been made. 

Secretary of Tourism Minister Maheshwor Neupane and the CAAN Director General Pradip Adhikari were also in favor of resuming the project. Adhikari warned that halting the project would incur a long-term loss to the country's entire economy. The airport could be an alternative to the Tribhuvan International Airport which can handle 9.2 million passengers annually in the context when 1 million passengers have been added every year in the country and around 10 percent globally, he reasoned. 

Meanwhile, the Committee meeting offered its condolence and passed a condolence motion in the Tara Air aircraft crash wherein 22 people including a pilot and crew members onboard were killed. Similarly, it also observed one-minute silence and extended its condolence to the bereaved families.  


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