People’s struggle against the proposed international airport in Nepal
26 Nov, 2023
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Bhola Bhattarai delivering speech during community action at Nijgadh

Blog post by Bhola Bhattarai (NAFAN – National Forum For Advocacy Nepal)

Tangiya Basti is the proposed site for the Nijgadh International Airport. But people living in Tangiya are being kept in the dark about this project. More than two thousand households, especially indigenous Tamang and other local communities, have been living at this site for the last three generations. During our meeting with the affected communities, the farmers, teachers, local political leaders and women shared that they are unaware of the details of the airport project. They have not been consulted yet or informed about their resettlement. These people will be displaced very soon, if the project goes forth. The airport project also entails the cutting of 2.4 million trees from the Bara forest to clear the way for its construction.

People’s struggle for the protection of forest, biodiversity and their life

The indigenous people living near the forest are fully dependent on its products: they collect firewood, fodder, non-timber forest products, and other products for their cooking, to feed cattle and for their income. But now, due to the planed Nijgadh Airport, the farmers worry about their future. The youth at the villages share news and information about the planed displacement of the settlement and the construction of the airport in the area of their village and the forest. In this situation, National Forum for Advocacy Nepal (NAFAN) a non-governmental advocacy group met, interacted, and showed solidarity with the local people. NAFAN is visiting local community groups and supporting them accessing information and providing tools and techniques to advocate for their rights against the airport project.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Chipko (hugging trees) action by local community at planed airport site

Who should be responsible?

During our gathering, local people shared the following aspects:

  • While they have been kept in the dark about the airport project, the authorities came and fenced off the forest area, restricting them from entering the forest to collect firewood, fodder and other products.
  • The local people are not getting information about the resettlement of the two thousand households in Tangiya village.
  • The community are afraid the Government and the companies in charge of the project might force them to leave the settlement through the use of military power.
  • The youth have been protesting against the proposed airport, demanding for it not to be built in the forest area.

What will be lost?

  • Sahajnath & Tamagadi Collaborative Forest covers around 7,000 Hectares of forest area. Those who are using and managing the forest will lose access to it, as well as their association. A total of 600 thousand people will lose access to the forest and their livelihoods due to the airport.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter