Caan to reacquire land for expansion of TIAThe Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan) has decided to reacquire 140 ropanis of land to the east of Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), eight years after the owners were permitted to build houses on their plots.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan) has decided to reacquire 140 ropanis of land to the east of Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), eight years after the owners were permitted to build houses on their plots.
Caan’s move is aimed at constructing drainage and the airport perimeter besides preventing construction of houses on the eastern side of the airport due to safety considerations. The area marked for reacquisition is located on the western side of the Jadibuti-Pepsi Cola road. Of the total land proposed to be reacquired, 115 ropanis belong to locals.
The Caan board approved the decision recently and it has been sent to the Tourism Ministry for its approval. More than 150 settlements will have to be destroyed if the government gives the go-ahead to the plan.
The process of land acquisition in the area started in 1979, and locals had been forbidden to build houses there for more than 25 years as it had been envisaged that more land would be required for the airport.
However, in 2007, the government dropped the plan and locals were permitted to build structures there through a Cabinet decision.
Around 315 houses were acquired by Caan for the expansion of the international airport. More than 1,000 houses had been constructed in the remaining area after the government declared that additional land would not be required.
The government had decided to acquire only those plots which lay within 150 metres of the end of the runway as per the standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (Icao). The government had decided to bear 75 percent of the total costs for the development of the infrastructure.
Now again, the locals are worried about their land. “The affected people were paid Rs560,000 per anna during that time when the market rate was Rs1 million per anna,” said a local who did not want to be named. Now the minimum valuation of the land has reached Rs1.9 million per anna.
The local said that they had written to the Department of Urban Development that if Caan were to move ahead with the acquisition plan, the displaced locals would have to be settled in one of the housing projects instead of providing them land and houses in compensation.
More than Rs5 billion would be required to pay for the land and houses. Caan has set aside Rs1.5 billion for this purpose.
However, some officials said that the eastern part of TIA already meets international standards and that there would be no need to acquire more land. “It’s not a wise decision to spend such hefty amounts for land acquisition as a domestic airport could be built with that kind of money,” said the government official.
“Caan has initiated the move at a time when it has not been able to complete a number of improvement projects at TIA, and this issue is likely to spark controversy.”