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Number of trees to be cut for Nijgadh airport exaggerated, says Bhattarai



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By A Staff Reporter
Kathmandu, Dec. 7: Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Bhattarai said on Saturday that he was ready to participate in the hearing of the Supreme Court (SC) to the case filed against Nijgadh International Airport.
Addressing a workshop organised by the ministry on the occasion International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Day in the capital today, Minister Bhattarai said that there was no alternative of constructing international airport in Nijgadh.
Minister Bhattarai made these remarks in response to the stay order of SC to the government regarding the construction of Nijgadh International Airport summoning both side for discussion on December 15.
The SC issued the stay order against the government in response of writ petition field by nine environment activists.
Minister Bhattarai, however, that he was confident that the SC would not create the obstruction in the construction of Nijgadh International Airport.
The SC is seeking to be clear in the issue raised by environmentalists, now it is the responsibility of the government officials and the experts to justify the importance of the international airport in Nijgadh, he said.
“The Supreme Court has called the government and writ petitioners for a discussion. As a minister of concerned ministry, I am ready to participate in hearing to convince the court about the issue if I am given the permission by the court,” Bhattarai said.
“The Nijgadh Airport is the national agenda, it will be my duty to give the logic from the side of the government on why it is important to the country,” he added.
“The facts about number of trees that need to be cut down while constructing the airport has been exaggerated to be 2.5 million from different sides, we have to present the right facts to the SC,” he said.
He said that the government had not found any other appropriate place than Nijgadh for constructing an international airport for last 20 years.
Minister Bhattarai said that the government was trying to attract private sector in aviation service and the development of aviation infrastructure in public private partnership.
He said that the government was trying to introduce private sector to Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) the government was trying to introduce foreign investors in Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC).
He said that the government was committed to ensure safe, security and reliable aviation service as per the standard of ICAO.
Rajan Pokharel, director general of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), said that Nepal had been continuously improving in its air safety condition achieve the score more than the ICAO’s world standard.
He, however, said that the country had yet to more progress to increase the capacity.
In the workshop, discussion was made on new civil aviation policy being drafted.
Earlier, a morning rally was organized from Sinamangal to Tribhuvan International Airport to mark the ICAO Day.
Minister Bhattarai had made inspection of TIA after the completion of the rally.

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