Nijgadh's Alternatives

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Nijgadh's Alternatives

When I say ‘Nijgadh's alternatives’ please understand what I actually mean by this- not the place but an alternative to the proposed Nijgadh International Airport (NIA). 

There is some good news about NIA which was conceived almost 25 years ago though its foundation stone hasn’t even been laid so far. The good news is that alternatives to NIA are being proposed these days. According to experts, those alternatives are as follows:

Alternative One: Instead of Nijgadh, let’s level the Bhattedanda hill near Kathmandu and build an airport there! We already have the experience of chopping off a hill for the new airport in Pokhara. We can make as much as five to six billion rupees by selling the soil, aggregates and stones produced after leveling the hill say some self-proclaimed experts. Thus, we can make a direct benefit of two billion rupees as building the airport will cost only four billion rupees, it is said. What a fantastic way to build a new airport!

Alternative Two: We can level the Shivapuri hills and build an airport there! If we can do that, then we will have a clear, unobstructed view of Mt Langtang, and many other in the way we can see Mt Machhapuchchhre from Pokhara airport. For the time being, we only have small, obstructed glimpses of the mountains from Kathmandu.

That too, only when the weather is clear or in other words, when the wind or rain blows away the dust and smoke from Kathmandu’s sky. Once that hill is removed, the dust and smoke in Kathmandu will automatically find an exit even when it doesn’t rain!

Alternative Three: Let’s blow up all the hills in Ngarkot and stretch the Kathmandu Valley up to Panchkhal.

The soil and stones we will get after blowing up the hills will be used to build roads which Prachanda’s landlord hasn’t built so far! Kathmandu, too, will become bigger as it will stretch up to Panchkhal and our capital will be nearer to be China. There will be enough land again for land plotting and starting brick kilns.

Alternative Four: Let’s level the Nagarjun hills in the west. (Let’s not talk about the Chandragiri hill for now; it is the place where King Prithvi Narayan had the dream of unifying Nepal, it is said. So, if this hill is removed, how are we going to have our dream for the future?) So, let’s level Nagarjun and fill all the rivers and rivulets on the west and thus stretch the Kathmandu Valley up to Mugling.

After all, we Nepalis already know how to fill rivers and build houses on the ‘land’ thus created. After this is done, we will also have enough space to run metro trains, big buses, 18-wheelers etc.

Alternative Five: Let’s build four new airports - one each at the above-mentioned places! Of late, the demand to build airports from Mechi in the east to Mahakali in the west and to build international airports in all seven provinces has come up. This demand is very well-placed. Because, in Nepal, road transportation is unreliable. The number of road accidents is just too many. Therefore, we need to switch to aerial transportation. Look at the crowd at TIA in Kathmandu. That shows how much we need more and more airports. On the other hand, the surrounding hills have given Kathmandu the shape of a bowl, increasing air pollution. After these hills are leveled, Kathmandu Metropolitan City’s ‘Clean and Green Kathmandu’ can be built!   

However, if you think all these alternatives are just castles in the air, then let’s build the airport at Nijgadh itself. Because the international airport at Nijgadh will be unique from all aspects. The forest and animal activists have already been saying that they won’t allow the felling of trees to build the airport at any cost. 

In this way, if the trees are safe, the jungles will be there. If the jungles are intact, there will be wild animals and birds. Just imagine how wonderful it will be in the airport and still continue hearing the birds chirp and see wild animals play on the tarmac? How beautiful the airport will be with monkeys, leopards and deer roaming around.

Even those trees which will be on the runway should not be cut – the way there are huge trees in the middle of the road in several of our highways low ways! Once this is done, where else in the world will the tourists get an attractive and boutique international airport like the one in Nijgadh!? Tourist arrivals will increase dramatically. There will be no need to organise yearlong tourism campaigns such as Visit Nepal Year 2020. Two million tourists might come just to look at the international airport at Nijgadh!  

Ah yes, I remembered something else just in time – what if India does not provide an aerial route to the international aircraft coming to the Nijgadh airport? After all, it has not provided an aerial route even for the airport in Bhairahawa. In other words, maybe we will eventually build an international airport at Nijgadh but what if international flights are not allowed to that airport and only flights from China and domestic flights are allowed?  

Let’s suppose for a while that no international airport will be built in Nijgadh. Even then, nothing bad will happen. All that is needed is the talk about the Nijgadh Airport to continue. If that happens, the price of land along the Kathmandu-Nijgadh road which is already high will further soar up. In other words, there will be a boom in the real estate sector.

No one has stopped the felling of trees along the roads. Such trees are being cut even now. That’s why the timber business is doing well. And that’s why everyone from top to bottom is doing quite well. They will do even better. What’s wrong then? Therefore, even if the airport is not built in Nijgadh, let’s increase the talk about it to the fullest! 

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