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People with vested interests ‘oppose airport in Nijgadh’

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Sep 24, 2018-

Minister for Forest and Environment Shakti Bahadur Basnet on Sunday said influential people are trying to create obstacles in the construction of the international airport in Nijgadh, Bara.

The minister did not reveal names of the people creating obstacles in building the country’s second international airport. Several stakeholders have expressed their concerns over the size of the proposed international airport as well as the large number of trees that would have to cut to construct it. The government is yet to take a final decision on the airport.

Opinions remain divided at a time when government has yet to make its position clear on the construction of the airport. Big and small forces and interest groups having political and various kind of interest are dead against the construction of the airport, he said at an event held at National Trust for Nature Conservation on the occasion of National Nature Conservation.

“The only international airport in Kathmandu is overcrowded and cannot sustain passenger pressure. So we need an alternative to Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu as soon as possible.”

The minister said that Ministry of Forest is of the view that the airport should be constructed with minimum damage to the environment. He urged people not to oppose the development works.

“I am clear,” the minister said, “that we have to build the airport at any cost maintaining transparency with minimum damage.” He said that Ministries of Forest and Tourism that are executing the construction of the airport are on the same page on this issue.

“The two ministries have similar views on this topic. We have had many meetings and have discussed the matter many times.  We do not have divergent views,” Minister Basnet said.

There was no misunderstanding between his Ministry and Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation regarding the construction of the second international airport in Nijgadh, he said. The airport must be constructed at any cost as it is the need of the nation, he added.

The government does not have any answers for those who are opposing the construction of the airport. Development work and protection of the environment should go hand in hand, the minister said.

“We cannot hear the opposition to the airport, but we can consider environmental issues.  We respect responsible voices and concerns about the environment,” he said.

He added that he is aware about the controversy over the felling of thousands of trees to develop the proposed full-fledged international airport.

The ministry plans to compensate the loss of trees by planting more to lessen environmental degradation.

Published: 24-09-2018 07:56

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