Don’t rush to cut down trees at airport site: House sub-committee

Kathmandu, January 23

The government must not cut down trees at the proposed second international airport site unless it gets assurance of investment to build the mega project, which is expected to be one of the largest in South Asia, the sub-committee of the parliamentary International Relations and Labour Committee has said.

The recommendation was made through a report prepared by a sub-committee formed under lawmaker Madhav Kumar Nepal, who is also the country’s former prime minister. The report was submitted to the International Relations and Labour Committee today. The report has suggested that the committee direct the government to select the investor and finalise investment and construction modalities before cutting down trees at the site of Nijgad International Airport.

The government had finalised the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report of the proposed airport few months ago. The report had said over two million large and small trees should be cut down from the site spread across 8,000 hectares. The sheer number of trees had raised many eyebrows and attracted criticism.

The project will also displace many people living in the area.

The parliamentary sub-committee report has directed the government to properly relocate residents from the proposed construction site and assure government job for at least one member of every household that is relocated.

An independent authority must be formed at the earliest to deal with all the issues, including construction, of the airport project, the report says, adding, the government must coordinate with the private sector to rope in foreign investor to build the project.

Although it is not known where some of the crucial facilities of the proposed airport will be built, the sub-committee report has identified ‘Tangia Basti’ as a feasible site for construction of runway.

The report must be endorsed by the International Relations and Labour Committee before its recommendations are implemented by the government. The committee has said it will thoroughly go through the report before endorsing it.