Nijgadh is best site for int’l airport: House panel

Published On: January 17, 2019 08:32 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Jan 17: A parliamentary panel formed to study a proposed new international airport in the country has concluded that Nijgadh is the best site for the project. 

A sub-committee led by former prime minister Madhav Nepal submitted its study report to the International Relations Committee of parliament on Wednesday, stating that the proposed site in Nijgadh will be the best location in terms of visibility, geography and distance from Kathmandu and the Indian border. 

“There was confusion whether to build the airport at Nijgadh or in Sarlahi. But our study found that the proposed site in Nijgadh is best from the perspective of visibility, adequate distance from the Indian border, access to Kathmandu and prospects for expansion in future,” said Nepal, who is a member of the committee representing the ruling Nepal Communist Party. 

The sub-committee report has recommended building airport terminals at either side of the runway so that the airport can be expanded to four runways in future. “The report has recommended acquiring adequate land, keeping in mind further expansion needs but cutting down as low a number of trees as possible,” Nepal said about the report. He added that the runway can be moved a few hundred meters toward the south to minimize forest damage, adding that the forest is thin on the southern side. The sub-committee had inspected the airport construction site both by air and in the field and held discussions with experts prior to submitting its report. 

The study panel has also sought directions from the full committee for starting the tree felling for the airport construction, ensuring investment and making other necessary arrangements beforehand. The sub-committee has concluded that there is no need for an airport city linking with the airport. Nepal said that one or two airport hotels can be built instead of an airport city. 

The parliamentary panel has also asked the government to initiate relocation and settlement of people from Tangiya, which lies in the path of the proposed runway for the airport. Likewise, a separate authority is suggested for overseeing the airport project and for easing the construction work for early completion. The report suggested shifting the site office of the airport project to Tangiya from Simara. 

Meanwhile, the report has also recommended splitting the Civil Aviation Authority Nepal (CAAN) and entrusting separate bodies with airline regulations and operations. Stating that Kathmandu airport will be mostly a domestic airport after the establishment of the international airport in Nijgadh, the report has strongly recommended withdrawing the plan for another domestic airport at Naghidanda, Kavre.


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