Full text of the verdict on Nijgadh International Airport; two judges differ

The Supreme Court has made public the full text of the verdict it had announced earlier over a case involving the proposed construction of Nijgadh International Airport today.

A full bench of Justices Harikrishna Karki, Bishwambhar Prasad Shrestha, Ishwar Prasad Khatiwada, Prakash Man Singh Raut and Dr Manoj Kumar Sharma has given different views in the full text of the verdict.

Judges Bishwambhar Prasad Shrestha, Ishwar Prasad Khatiwada and Prakash Man Singh Raut have ruled that the airport should not be built at the site, while Justices Harikrishna Karki and Dr Manoj Kumar Sharma have said that though the airport could not be built at the designated place an environmental evaluation could be carried out for an alternative.

In the opinion of the three judges, the work of construction of the airport has been annulled by a certiorari order as government’s work on the airport in Nijgadh of Bara district so far was found to be flawed. “We should not ignore or underestimate the importance of protecting the environment while carrying such large construction,” reads the full text.

Although it is natural to have some environmental damage during development works, it is mentioned that adequate alternative measures should be taken to minimize such damage as much as possible.

Similarly, in the full text of the decision, it is stated that the airport could be constructed at an alternative place by carrying out the environmental impact assessment of the site objectively and logically with regard to the suitability of airport construction in accordance with the due legal procedures. The construction of the airport should be carried in a location that is technically suitable and with minimal environmental damage.

In the opinion of Justices Harikrishna Karki and Dr Manoj Kumar Sharma, the Nijgadh International Airport could be constructed in government-owned vacant land by adding private land adjacent to the proposed construction site south of Nijgadh in Bara district or elsewhere.

If it is not found suitable for the construction of the airport due to technical or other reasons, the proposed area should be re-assessed as per the law and the environmental impact assessment should be done.

Similarly, the full text says that forest area should not be used for the establishment and expansion of the proposed airport city during the construction of the airport.

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