Confusion persists over building guidelines

  • tia aircraft issues
- GAURAV THAPA, Kathmandu

Aug 12, 2015-

After the controversy surrounding a high-rise building in Koteshwor which allegedly obstructs the flight path of international aeroplanes reached Parliament on Monday, metropolitan and Valley officials are not yet sure what action they could pursue as they say the building in question is legit.

Parliamentary Development Committee on Monday had directed Ministry of Culture, Tourism & Civil Aviation, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development, Kathmandu Valley Development Authority and Kathmandu Metropolitan City to remove structures that obstruct flights to and from Tribhuvan International Airport within three months particularly referring to an “eight-storey building” in Koteshwor Chowk.

The building in question, Ct Tower, has followed existing guidelines and has acquired building permit from the municipality, engineer Gambhir Lal Shrestha of KMC’s Urban Development Department said. Shrestha said that the building is five-and-a-half-storey tall with a one-storey basement as per the permit while the additional structure on its roof built to cover the elevator [which makes it taller] is allowed by law.

Two months ago, KMC had intervened while the owner of the building was constructing a two-and-a-half-storey truss structure on the roof as it went above the approved design, according to Shrestha, but currently there is nothing wrong with the 

building height-wise. Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal along with TIA had objected to the location and height of the building complaining that international aeroplanes had to carry load below their potential number of passengers to avoid accidents, resulting in loss of revenue.

The Civil Aviation Act of 1959 grants the government powers of regulating, restricting or prohibiting any construction work carried out at an aerodrome which is a definite area to be used for the landing or take off of an aircraft. But another KMC engineer Bir Bahadur Khadka said the building is outside the aerodrome.

Chief and Executive Officer of KMC Rudra Singh Tamang said he is waiting for things to be clearer amid confusion as the development committee directive is vague and does not point out particular buildings that are cause for concern.

“There may be 50-60 thousand houses around the airport, we cannot inspect each and every one of them,” he said. “We also do not know which flight paths planes take so it would have been helpful for CAAN to go into specifics. If they are talking about Ct Tower, our inspection found nothing wrong with it.”

The committee directive simply mentions “physical structures obstructing service provided by TIA such as eight-storey buildings and surrounding structures.”

Deputy Development Commissioner of KVDA Bhai Kaji Tiwari also said the confusion over building guidelines needs to be sorted out before asking for action. “When the building went over the prescribed height last time, we pulled the additional structure down,” he said. “We do not know what went wrong this time.”

Both KMC, which approves building design in Kathmandu, and KVDA, which is entrusted with integrated physical development of the Valley, were not invited to the development committee meeting on Monday. Officials from both the institutions said they are in quandary over the modality of action they should take as the owner may have to be compensated in a manner beyond their jurisdiction.

Officials, however, accepted that several buildings in Kathmandu flout government-prescribed building codes and many of them may disturb flights owing 

to poor inspection. CEO Tamang suggested overhauling building codes for comprehensive solution of the problem and said airport authorities should point out individual disturbances for the time being.

Published: 12-08-2015 10:54

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