Top leaders of the five-party ruling coalition have committed to building an international airport in Nijgad on Saturday, stating that the Supreme Court’s final verdict hasn’t closed all paths towards building the proposed airport.
Attending a program in Bara district, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, CPN-Maoist Centre Chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal, CPN-Unified Socialist Chairman Madhav Kumar Nepal, Janata Samjbadi Party-Nepal’s Chairman Upendra Yadav said to the attending crowd that the proposed international airport will be built at any cost.
On 26th May, 2022, the Supreme Court had barred the government from proceeding with the construction of the proposed international airport. On 29th June, 2022, the full text of the verdict, while quashing all earlier made decisions, said if the government is interested in pursuing building an international airport in Nijgad, it must conduct a proper environmental impact assessment (EIA).
Bolstered by the Supreme Court’s verdict, leaders of the ruling coalition have said an international airport will be built in Nijgad, keeping environmental and local community concerns in mind.
The proposed airport in Nijgad has been touted as an alternative to Kathmandu’s already congested Tribhuvan International Airport – however, the proposition required the felling of hundreds of thousands of trees, in a densely forested area. The airport would affect a natural wildlife corridor, and warrant extensive environmental damage.
Nature conservationists and advocated, concerned about the environmental impact had filed a Public Interest Litigation in 2019 requesting the government to source an alternate site for the airport. The Supreme Court had directed the government to stay construction at the proposed site.