November 6, 2018 07:55 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, Nov 6: A sub-committee formed by the parliament's International Relations Committee has concluded an 'on-site visit' of the Nijgadh International Airport construction site on Monday. The team flew to the site by a Nepal Army helicopter.
Three lawmakers of the sub-committee including former Prime Minister Madhav Nepal, members Dibya Mani Raj Bhandari and Nirjala Raut embarked for the 'field visit' to study the environmental impact of the airport at 11 am on Monday. The committee also invited two concerned ministers, Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari and Forest Minister Shakti Basnet for the on-site visit.
The army chopper took off from the Kathmandu airport with 20 persons including two environmentalists, government officials and a few journalists on board and returned after a two-hour flight.
Asked about the findings of the field visit, lawmaker Raut said she doesn't have any clue because they couldn't talk to stakeholders and locals. “I had not been told that it would be just an aerial inspection. We made a few rounds of the airport construction site by air and came back,” Raut told Republica after the visit.
Some team members who were in the back seats of the helicopter complained that they could not see the site properly.
“We didn't have anyone to show us the airport construction site because there was just one guide to brief the sub-committee head Nepal,” Raut said.
Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal had hired the army helicopter paying around one million rupees, according to a member of the visit team. Asked about the achievement of the visit, lawmaker Raut said they saw a forested area and the environmentalists on the team said the airport site can be shifted slightly to lessen the environment impact.
Secretary of the International Relation Committee Suraj Kumar Dura said the committee is likely to visit Nijgadh area for a field visit after the Tihar and Chhath festivals.