Second International Airport (SIA) Nijgadh Airport Project is yet to start the first phase of chopping down the trees for the construction of the airport. Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) had asked Ministry of Forest and Environment (MoFE) to cut down trees for construction of the airport however Forest ministry has not responded yet.
MoCTCA had requested approval from the Ministry of Forest and Environment to cut down trees for construction of Nijgadh airport last August after Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the construction of the airport was approved however 7 months has passed still MoFE has not answered.
Officials from Forest ministry stated that though the letter from MoCTCA was acknowledged, it didn’t acknowledge which trees of which location of what number etc. delaying the reply from MoFE.
The project is National pride project and yet high officials from both ministry have not shown interest in doing discussion and clearing the confusion to initiate the work.
Prabhu Budhathoki, former member of National Planning Commission has stated that EIA of proposed Nijgadh Airport has not properly analyzed the effect on social, economic and environment from the construction work and the government was not serious about its impact.
The airport will be developed in three phases. The first phase, as per the detailed feasibility study (DFS) of the project, will be of 10 years; the second phase will be of 5 years, and the third or final phase will be of 25 years.
The airport will require around 2593 hector of land for 1st phase construction in which it will to chop around 194 thousand trees. Nevertheless, no decision for the process has been undertaken yet,
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 NRs. 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.
The project envisions building a modern airport in Nijgadh in Bara district, 175 km from Kathmandu in the southern plains.
Tourism Minister has proposed some foreign investors for construction and operation of Nijgadh Airport.