MOFE directed to allow chopping down trees for construction of Nijgadh Airport

Parliamentary committee has directed Ministry of Forest and Environment (MoFE) to allow permission to chop down the trees for the construction of Nijgadh International Airport.

Parliamentary committee’s national concern and Co-ordination committee held meeting with ministry representative along with representative from Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) to discuss on the airport project and has directed concerned representatives to allow chopping down trees for construction of the national pride project airport.

The committee has directed ministry to allow chopping down trees for construction of Runway and other infrastructure with reference to Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the airport project. The committee also aware government to acknowledge the management of ‘Tangiya Settlement’ locted at the airport project site.

CAAN official also stated that they have already submitted document to forest ministry to cut down the trees long ago however, no response has been made till now.

The work of the airport has also been halted as the government has not been able to finalize the investment modality to construct the airport. Some international companies had shown interest to construct the airport in investment summit last year; however, the work from Nepali side has not been so fruitful to attract them and start the process.

The government has also not been able to finalize the construction modality of the airport and has expressed to operate the airport in various modalities frequently and not giving final decision for construction of the airport.

National Pride Project Chief of CAAN, Pradip Adhikari has stated to take final decision on how to build airport by either G2G (government-to-government) or PPP (public-private partnership) or BOOT (build, own, operate and transfer) modality to give initiation to project.

CAAN officials also added that they are also ready to commence the project and the work of resettlement and distributing compensation to local is also in final phase.

All the stakeholders have urged to finalize the project as soon as possible and start the constriction process as the expenses will increase accordingly.

Budget of around 1.5 billion has been allocated by government for construction of country’s second international airport and stakeholders and concerned experts have stated that the projected budget is much low than expected for the project as it has been tagged as mega airport project for the country.

It has already been 24 years since the government came up with a plan to build the Nijgadh International Airport as an international hub.

There is a plan to develop the hub as an air transit for 22 neighboring countries with around 15 million air passengers. CAAN claims that the project can be completed within the time-frame but almost two-and-a-half decades have gone by and the project is still struggling to complete even preliminary works.

Currently, Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) is only the international airport operating in Nepal whereas other international airport projects: Pokhara Regional International Airport, Gautam Buddha International project (GBIA) are going on. GBIA is set to come into operation within 2019.

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