Forest ministry produces green signal to defy the debate on cutting tress for construction of Nijgadh International Airport

S. Sierra, Kathmandu

The Ministry of Forest and Environment has assured the raising concerns on the construction of Nijgadh International Airport that it would not bar the project considering the multiple advantage to environment friendly development, the cutting down of tress would be done in environment friendly manner considering all the laws.

“There is no point in obstructing the development of this mega project with fickle views,” said Secretary Bishwa Nath Oli during a sub-committee meeting of the parliamentary International Relations Committee on Thursday.

The cutting down of trees need to be re-compensated by planting trees in the ratio of 1:25 according to the rule that he had ensured would be secured and also told that a preparation is being done to create a natural fund to help reach their goal for planting those tress.

The minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA), Rabindra Adhikari claimed that only 2.5 lakhs trees will be cut clarifying the issue which was flourished through media. Forest Ministry has already approved Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for construction of the airport.

Previously, it was said that 25 lakhs trees would be cleared and 6 crores trees are required to be planted instead, however, Minister Adhikari confirmed that it is just a rumor. The meeting between Finance Ministry and Tourism Ministry held on August 29, 2018, has already decided to construct Nijgadh Airport in Government-Private partners’ model. It is estimated to cost around Rs 100 billion for the construction of the airport.

Sanjiv Gautam, director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal has stated that the proposed airport would handle 15 million passengers in the first phase. “The construction of the second phase will be required only if the airport’s passenger traffic crosses the 15 million mark,” he said.

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