Locals frustrated by lack of progress

Locals frustrated by lack of progress

second int’l airport

21 June 2015 | Kathmandu Post

Laxmi Shah

BARA, JUN 20 - Ramesh Shapkota, 45, of Tangiyabasti was excited about the government’s decision to build the Second International Airport (SIA) in Nijgadh. But little to no progress on the project development front, even as one and half decades have passed since the idea was first floated, has disappointed Shapkota, who is also president of Tangiyabasti Stakeholder Committee. “This is high time the government made some concrete development. For how long do we promote an airport that has seen no progress?” he questioned. Like Shapkota, local politicians, industrialists and the general people have urged the government to launch the project soon.

“The government has decided to fence the airport area. But no progress has been made so far,” said Suman Thokar, secretary of Tangiyabasti Concern Committee said. Lack of proper coordination between government agencies has been delaying the project. A total of Rs 1.5 billion has so far been allotted since fiscal year 2010-11, but the resources have not been spent properly. This fiscal year alone, the government allocated Rs 500 million. “We are fed up of protesting,” said Yek Bahadur Shrestha, coordinator of Nijgadh Stakeholder Committee. Minster for Youth and Sports Purshotam Poudel said although the Detailed Project Report (DPR) has been prepared, policy-level delay has taken a toll on the project. 

“The delay in policy-level decisions is because the government is not sure whether to take ahead the project through a tender or initiate on its own,” Poudel said, adding the government, however, was planning to demarcate the area soon. According to the DPR prepared by Korea’s Landmark Worldwide, the airport construction will cost around Rs 150 billion. The delay in project is likely to increase the project’s cost due to factors such as inflation. “The government has asked the survey office to erect four pillars to demarcate the land,” the project’s director Wakil Chimoriya said. “Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) too has started.”One of the major challenges to the airport development is resettlement and rehabilitation of the people living in the area. Tangiyabasti has 1,400 households with around 6,000 people, especially from the Tamang community. The local residents have demanded the government relocate them to a safer space. The villagers have accused government of not showing concerns over the issue of resettlement and rehabilitation.