Defying an interim order of the Supreme Court not to take any activities clearing the forest in Nijgadh to construct the international airport, Investment Board Nepal (IBN) has asked detailed proposals from the Zurich Airport International AG to construct the Nijgadh International Airport (NIA).
The division bench of Supreme Court presided by chief justice Cholendra Sumsher Rana and justice Kumar Regmi issued an interim order not take any activities on Nijgadh International till further notice.
The court issued this interim order in a PIL filed by former secretary Dwarkianath Dhungel, senior advocate Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, Shukdev Khatri, Dr. Chiranjibi Bhattarai, Pankaj Kumar Karna, Bijaya Kumar Singh Danuar, Ranju Hajur Pande Chhetri, Bharat Basnet, and Keshar Mani Aryal on December 21.
The court is hearing another petition as well. Filed by environmental activist and senior advocate Prakash Mani Sharma and ten other petitioners including environmental activist Chanda Rana, senior advocate Dinesh Tripathy and petitioner Sanjaya Adhikari on September 10, a public litigation petition is also under a hearing of division bench of Chief Justice Rana and justice Regmi. The coming hearing is scheduled on February 15.
“This is a bullying attitude of Investment Board of Nepal (IBN),” told a leading petitioner senior advocate Prakash Mani Sharma to New Spotlight. “Publishing the notice IBN has shown that institution does not care about the rule of law and Supreme Court’s order. IBN intentionally defies court order issuing notice on a sub-judice case and they should be punishable on deformation.”
“If this news is correct? Can’t it be seen as the challenge to the notion of an independent judiciary, because, the matter is before the Supreme Court? It has yet to decide the case brought before it under PIL by some concerned citizens of the country,” writes Dr. Dwarikanath Dhungel, a PIL Petitioner, in his FaceBook wall.
The PIL petitioners are considering to file to a case against IBN on deformation.
At a time when a division bench of the court headed by Chief Justice Rana has made it clear that the court will review the rationality of destruction of the forest and sites for the construction of an airport, IBN’s recent notice challenges the court which has been hearing two public litigation petitions.
Public litigation lawyer and petitioner were also surprised to see an internationally renowned Europe’s Zurich Airport is pressing to take the project even undermining the court’s order. “I am surprised to see an investor from Switzerland, the liberal democratic country so much concerned about the globally deteriorating environment, is coming with a proposal for a sub-judice project, “said Dr. Dhungel.
Led by environmental and conservationist activist Chanda Rana, who is one of the petitioners of public interest litigation filed by senior Advocate Sharma and ten others, led group protested in front of Embassy of Switzerland against Zurich International Airport decision to build the airport destroying 2.4 million trees a few months back.
Publishing the notice, IBN has shown that it is neither interested in the rule of law nor it has any concern with the environment. “I have learned that the government of the United Kingdom and others have been supporting IBN’s capacity building. Is this IBN learned to blatantly undermine the apex court order on subjudiced matter and goes against the environment?” asked senior advocate Sharma.
The Investment Board Nepal (IBN) asked the Swiss company to submit the extensive project proposal within 45 days for the construction and operation of the NIA.
A meeting of Investment Board Nepal (IBN) chaired by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on September 19 had shortlisted the company to construct the NIA and decided to seek an extensive proposal from it.
The government has been insisting that there is no alternative to Nijgadh International Airport to meet the growing demand. Environmental activists and petitioners have been opposing the project saying that it will destroy over 90 million trees of different kinds.
As the last forest of the pre-historic period, destruction of forest in Nijgadh and construction of the mammoth airport will also change the course of two rivers Lal Bakiya and Pasaha, major tributaries of Bagmati river.
Lalbakiya and Pasaha have been creating havoc in border areas of Nepal and India during the rainy session.
Since Nijgadh forest is the last portion of a remaining rain forest with the concentration of highly valuable biodiversity and home of endangered Asiatic Elephant, Tigers and many other species close to the border with India, this is a trans-boundary issue as well.
According to the EIA report, 2.4 million trees are required to clear for the construction of Nijgadh International Airport. However, lawyers argued that 90 million trees will be cleared for the construction of the airport.https://www.spotlightnepal.com/2019/12/22/supreme-court-issues-interim-order-stop-all-activities-construction-nijgadh-international-airport/