Locals demand swift compensation for land they expropriated for Biratnagar airport expansion

Local residents of Morang and Sunsari have demanded prompt compensation for the land they have acquired for the Biratnagar airport expansion project.

350 families in the adjoining areas of Biratnagar Capital District No. 4 and Barju town have said th

at their land has been banned from sale from April 6, 2021.On April 6, the Nepal government published a notice in the daily Gorakhapatra banning the sale of land in the proposed airport expansion area.

The Nepal government has launched a project to expand the airport area from the existing 122 Bigha to 248.46 Bigha by acquiring 126.46 Bigha of land from the locals.

“We have 1400 Bighas of land acquired by the Nepalese government and we are confident of getting compensation from the Oli government itself,” complained Bedraj Poudel, chairman of the struggle committee.” However, we are waiting for compensation. According to Poudel, the locals are having financial problems because of the long process.” We have not been compensated and have not been able to sell our land,” Poudel lamented.

The government is planning to build a 2,500-meter runway for domestic and international flights in the near future.

To increase the size of the airport, the project has already acquired 7.83 acres in the east, 69.14 acres in the west, 35.81 acres in the north and 8.87 acres and 3.70 acres of roadbed.

Meanwhile, Utsab Harel, director of civil aviation at Biratnagar Airport, said he could not pay the compensation due to lack of budget.” Harel said, “The lengthy compensation process is problematic, so it is open to Amsabanda (transfer of property to family members).

The Biratnagar airport is a priority for the provincial and federal governments to elevate it to international status. Traders and locals have been asking for international flights for a long time. Interestingly, there were direct flights from India to Patna in the Panjab era. According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, Biratnagar Airport is the third busiest airport after Kathmandu and Pokhara.