Agitation halted after CAAN sends Rs 2bn

Bhairahawa, June 20

Land owners who had resorted to agitation at the site of the under-construction Gautam Buddha International Airport in Bhairahawa demanding compensation have halted their agitation from today after the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal sent around 2 billion rupees to the airport project’s accounts.

Owners of land requisitioned for airport construction had started an agitation by pitching a tent on the runway from Monday seeking compensation for the requisitioned land. With the agitation coming to a halt, work related to the construction of the runway has intensified from today.

“As we’ve got 2 billion rupees of the Rs 5 billion released by the Finance Ministry, we will start distribution of compensation from tomorrow,” said the project chief Om Sharma, adding that so far 6 billion rupees has been distributed in compensation.

Distribution of compensation to land owners whose lands were requisitioned in March, however, had not been possible due to lack of fund. Of the total 500 bigha land belonging to 2,425 persons, so far 800 land owners have received compensation.

As per project officials, a total of 23 billion rupees will be required for compensation. “The agitation has been halted for now as we’ve heard that compensation has been sent to the project’s account. But we will resume the agitation if we are not exempted from the capital gains tax as provisioned by the new rule,” said Santosh Pande, a Provincial Assembly member elected from Rupandehi Constituency 3 (1) who is leading the agitation.

The locals have protested the recently introduced provision in the budget to come into effect from the next fiscal according to which land owners will have to pay capital gains tax in case of a land transaction worth over 1 million rupees.