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Nijgadh Airport and Airport City, Nepal

Over 2.4 million trees, a vast swath of the last remaining forest in the eastern Tarai, could be felled for a mega-airport, with an adjoining Airport City, in Nijgadh. The site includes the Tangiya Basti settlement and 7,500 people face displacement.


A mega-airport with an adjoining airport city is planned in Nijgadh, in the Bara District in southeastern Nepal. The government has repeatedly stated that the new airport, with a 80 square kilometer site, will be the largest, by area, in South Asia. The site is in the forested easern Tarai lowland region and situated between two rivers, Pashah to the west and Bakiya to the east. The northern boundary is the Mahendra Highway between the two rivers. Most of the site, about 90 per cent, is densely forested land, predominantly consisting of Shorea robusta trees, also known as Sal or Sakhua.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Nijgadh Airport and Airport City, Nepal
State or province:Bara District, Province No .2
Location of conflict:Nijgadh
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Ports and airport projects
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Nijgadh was first identified as the site for a new international airport in 1994.[3] Landmark Worldwide Company (LMW) prepared a Detailed Feasibility Report (DFR) for Nijgadh Airport in 2011.[11] The Environmental & Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) of Nijgadh Airport, submitted in March 2018, specifies the first phase of the project as a single runway facility with a parallel taxiway and 22 aircraft stands, to accommodate 6.7 million passengers per year.[2] The cost of the first phase is estimated at USD1.172 billion.[1] The ultimate development plan is for a facility with two parallel 3,600 meter runways, 174 aircraft stands and a 720,000 square meter international terminal handling 60 million passengers per year, plus an accompanying 600 hectare airport city, with the full project area covering 8,045 hectares.[2] The cost of the entire project is estimated at USD 6.7 billion.[3] The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was approved by the Ministry of Forests and Environment in May 2018 and Rabindra Prasad Adhikari, Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation said completion of the EIA cleared the way for the project to go ahead.[12]

Project area:8,000
Level of Investment for the conflictive projectUSD 6,700,000,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:7,500
Start of the conflict:06/2014
Company names or state enterprises:LandMark Worldwide from Republic of Korea - Conducted feasibility study for Nijgadh Airport, submitted in April 2012
GEOCE Consultants (P) Ltd from Nepal - Prepared Environment and Social Impact Assessment, approved in May 2018
Relevant government actors:Government of Nepal
Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN)
Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA)
Ministry of Forests and Environment
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Tangiyabasti Stakeholders Committee
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Environmental and conservation activist Chanda Rana
Forms of mobilization:Development of alternative proposals
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Oil spills, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Soil erosion
Health ImpactsPotential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Other Health impacts
Other Health impactsIllnesses caused by pollutants emitted by aircraft
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The Nepal government has approved the Nijgadh Airport project in spite of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) confirming the serious impacts of deforestation, loss of biodiversity and displacement of 7,500 people.
Sources & Materials

[1] Nijgadh aerotropolis - 2.4 million trees could be felled, and 7,380 people displaced, Global Anti-Aerotropolis Movement (GAAM), 4th October 2017
[click to view]

[2] Environmental & Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) of Second International Airport, Nijgadh, Bara, GEOCE Consultants (P) Ltd
[click to view]

[3] Does Nepal need a 4th international airport?, Nepal Times, 1 June 2018
[click to view]

[4] Don’t build Nijgadh airport at elephant corridor: Experts "Plant 60 million saplings before cutting down trees',, 7 September 2018
[click to view]

[5] Nijgadh airport project will spell disaster, warn conservationists, Kathmandu Post, 9 October 2018
[click to view]

[6] Stop the Construction of Nijgadh International Airport, Nepal, petition to MoCTCA
[click to view]

[7] Megalomania + Kleptomania, Nepali Times, 21 September 2018
[click to view]

[8] Presence Of My Father At Neejgadh Jungle, Spotlight Nepal, 31 October 2018
[click to view]

[9] Environmental Activists Appeal Govt to Seek Alternative Site for Nijgadh Int’l Airport, New Business Age, 7 February 2019
[click to view]

[10] Eminent Persons Hand Over Petition Not To Construct Airport At The Cost of 24 Lacs Trees In Nijgadh, Spotlight Nepal, 6 February 2019
[click to view]

[11] Second International Airport: Report calls for formation of steering committee, Kathmandu Post, 9 August 2011
[click to view]

[12] EIA report of Nijgadh Airport okayed, The Himalayan, 25 May 2018
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Rose Bridger, Stay Grounded, email: [email protected]
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:3722
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