Biodiversity Nepal
For the Future Generation

More than Billion Dollar Airport for a Poor Economy Himalayan Nation

It seems to be a dream project to someone but in reality, it's a Nightmare.

Billion Dollar Project of Nepal (SIA)

The Second International Airport (SIA), conceptualized 24 years ago in the southern region of Bara districts that borders India’s Bihar state around 150km distance from Kathmandu Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA).

Honourable President of Nepal, Bidhya Devi Bhandari stressed Nijghad International airport (NIA) as a game-changer project to change the fate of province 2.

The political leadership here could not reach a consensus for naming the province; how can one be assured with the president’s words? And it’s not the new thing as well: a disease that the nation has been suffering for decades. A big project is proposed, but delays and degradation will compromise its quality. The current project is also destined to face big hindrance along the way. Delay and development mourn can cause problems at an unprecedented scale.

Protest against Nijgadh International Project at the Swiss Embassy. Picture: Chandra Rana

Challenges are big. Though political stability is a chance to be optimistic. Geographical politics, especially the influence from India, can’t be undermined. Political dynamics in a nation like Nepal can shift within a matter of days. Economics and feasibility challenges are also a big part, while culture and tradition-based ecological conservation another. Leaders’ rampant vision of magical development will cripple the acres of centuries-old protected Sal and hardwood forest within months. The ambitious reimbursement plan of the two big community forests is destined to fail as well.

Migration and translocation are easy cake for humans. Trans-located animals have doubtful survival rates. Fact is there is no such translocation plan in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). This deforestation will be a disastrous attack to nature.

There is no reimbursement to the clean air and water after the project. The hydrological dimension of the area can collapse, not to mention the damage upon ecology. The endangered wild elephant and tiger won’t be proud of the International Airport that displaced their home. As it is an acclaimed regular elephant corridor, they are bound to suffer the consequences of losing their homes.

 What more? We don’t have a plan on balancing ecological disturbance that is bound to happen by the airport city. The sound pollution is totally neglected in the arena of diverse Chure range. The biodiversity can be crushed. Overall, The area is already suffering the thrust of water as rivers are drying up. 

Predicted planes may certainly land after a decade. There is no certainty that human-biodiversity conflict will not question the approach.

The concept of huge airports are in economic loss and are not feasible anymore in the global context. Hope economists have some concrete balance sheets to suggest the project development. The land area selected to build a hub model airport in route for charismatic and endangered animal movement. This is an insane move indeed. If you have some points and feel like I am not making any logic please mail me your logic as I am searching for it.

Illustration: Ratna Sagar Shrestha/THT

If you would like to study the Environmental Impact Assessment of the airport. Please click the link.

3900 seedlings per hectare, 700 saplings per hectare, 20 lakhs of pole size vegetation and nearly 6 lakhs of matured tree species. Sal dominates the area. The density and diversity indicate it’s a healthy sal forest. Sal forest is very hard to grow and costs a huge economy. The market value of forest products was 596 million Nepali currency. Around 500 species of avifauna and 23 mammal species are on the verge of extinction.  Economic contribution by irrigation canal originating from the area must be larger than calculated in EIA. Contribution of Non-wood forest products is underrated. While other tangible and intangible contributions of standing trees, flying birds, crawling reptiles and not reported.

Hurray!!! They finished cutting trees. Animals and creatures either flew or died. And dead do not speak but they hunt. The worldwide haunted stories scare. I am scared, Are you not? 

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