Udayapur revives airport plan

Published On: December 17, 2019 10:00 AM NPT By: Maheshwor Chamling Rai

UDAYAPUR, Dec 17: The 5-decade old plan of constructing an airport in Udaypur seems to have revived. 

The proposal to construct an airport in the district was first floated in 1974. But due to various reasons, the project never took off. 

As of the latest plan, the airport is to be constructed on a land spread over wards 1 and 2 of Triyuga Municipality and ward 10 of Chaudandigadhi Municipality. 

The proposed land is currently occupied by community forests. The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) had performed an Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the airport five years ago.

According to Division Forest Office Udaypur, the Ministry of Population and Environment had accepted the EIA report in January 2018, but the file was closed without any information. Almost two years later, the ministry has asked the division office to inspect the proposed land and report back to the ministry, according to Jageshwor Prasad Sah, assistant forest officer.  

As per the plan, 156 hactares of land from Mothiyahi and Kang community forests will be acquired for the airport if the project moves forward. It is estimated that more than 35,000 trees from the two forests will be felled for the airport. "This number is based on an old estimate. It has to be updated through a new survey," Sah said. 

Rs 2.1 million required for the survey will be provided by Chaudandigadhi and Triyuga municipalities. According to Prameshwor Ghimire, secretary of Triyuga Airport Construction Committee, proposals have been forwarded to the municipalities for required budget.

Earlier in 2008, a 13-member committee was formed under Birendra Basnet and Bal Dev Chaudhary to take the airport project forward, which never happened.

There have been a number of other attempts to take the project forward in the past. The CAAN had once decided to construct the airport on a 14-bigha land near Gaighat, but the decision was later revoked.

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