While innocent villagers – fodder pickers or grass cutters – had been brutally “punished” by Buddha Boy in Halkhoria over the past years, the Maitriya cult shockingly ignores Nepal’s plan to construct an 80 km2 airport, a Fast Track Highway and a railway just at the edges of this jungle, with the plan to cut out thousands of trees… “Maha Sambodhi Dharma Sangha’s” so called HOLISTIC SPIRITUAL ECOLOGY is based on lies about the past “ecological damage by villagers”, and focuses on a ridiculous tree-protection while stays idle when facing the Government legalized jungle-leveling activity in the name of infrastructure development.
The next part of the article: A slow track towards Fast Track
THREE MEGA PROJECTS WHICH WILL TRANSFORM HALKHORIYA JUNGLE INTO A DISNEYLAND
A “Maitri Disneyland” where crowds of visitors will flock in tidy uniform lines from the adjacent international airport which will be built just on the other side of the road, as well as from the Fast Track highway leading to nearby Nijgadh and the hypermodern railway connecting nearby Pathalaiya with Kathmandu on one side and Birganj to India on the other…Halkhoria will be “enriched” by shopping-malls, escalators, peepal and saal trees will be trimmed elegantly and the air will be filled with the humming of planes, trucks and trains…The tigers and elephants will be placed in zoo…
While the 2015 Earthquake’s victims are still without proper shelter, the enormous donations from all over the world to reconstruct the victims’ houses and roads, had been not spoken about anymore. The former PM Sushil Koirala’s “Prime Minister’s bank account”, where the donations had to be redirected after a quick law had been drawn at his Government’s initiative, had apparently “dissolved” with the departure of the PM. Where is all that money diverted to that account…?
Parallelly, while Nepal is keeping its well rewarding image of “the world’s poorest country” and “developing third-world country”, suddenly it comes up with mega-projects which are shockingly inconsistent with both the insufficient reconstruction of its citizen’s earthquake-hit houses, as well as with the image of a “backward country with the poorest people of the world”…
Suddenly, now in 2016, Nepal decides for building Asia’s biggest international airport in Nijgadh (apart from the parallel international airport-construction started in Pokhara!), in the same time building as many as 3 railway lines, and finally starting to build the long-announced Kathmandu-Nijgadh Fast Track highway too.
In simple language, it is striking to the eye, how it is possible not to find enough money, will and staff to rebuild poor citizens houses even 1.5 years after the devastating earthquake, but to pull out of some secret inner pocket suddenly billiards of the state budget for construction plans imitating Singapore, China or the US:
Read also: Google Earth Sattelite Images of Halkhoiya
FAST TRACK – THE DREAM
“The 76-kilometer Fast Track from Khokana, Lalitpur to Nijgadh, Bara will connect tarai directly to Kathmandu Valley, and there have been demands that it be constructed to bring air passengers from Nijgadh Airport to the destinations.””
““The projects reportedly will be constructed with private investment claiming that the government cannot construct them. But it has already been evident that the projects cannot be constructed in build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) model. The projects can be constructed through government investment if there is political decision,” he added.
Khanal advised for state decision stating that politicians take decisions for construction of mega projects and technicians implement them across the world. He claimed that the government has adequate resources to construct these projects as billions of rupees remain idle in government accounts in lack of spending. “
And it seem he was right, back in spring…
Update – the decision from June 2016:
“”Rs. 10 arab allocated in the national budget for the fiscal year 2016/17 is for the construction of Kathmandu-Nijgadh Fast Track, according to Secretary of the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport.”
And some other calculations from different time and sources:
“The planned modern airport in Nijgadh, which is located 175 kilometers south of Kathmandu, will be spread over 80 square kilometers. Caan engineers said it could “probably” be the biggest airport in Asia. In 2011, Korea’s Landmark Worldwide Company (LMW) had submitted a detailed feasibility study of the airport project to the government, and estimated that the airport, which would be built in three phases, would cost Rs82 billion.
The preliminary internal financial assessment conducted by Caan has proposed building a 4,000-metre runway while LMW’s plan has a 3,600-metre runway. Likewise, Caan has proposed building a 100,000-square-metre international passenger terminal building against the 75,000-square-metre building proposed by LMW.”
FAST TRACK – THE ABSURDITY
The absurdity of mega projects in a nation which had still not implemented earthquake-safe houses, which has still no free education system and where village lifestyle with cooking on firewood and using ox to till lands is prevalent, poses a rough contrast even for Nepalis themselves:
“At a time when Nepal has been unable to complete the 28-kilometers long tunnel to bring water from Melamchi to Kathmandu in the last fifteen years, the country’s politicians and policymakers have started to sell another impossible dream to construct highly sophisticated projects like Nijgadh International Airport and Kathmandu-Nijgadh Fast Track.”
“Organized by Development Committee of Legislature Parliament, high level interactions of leaders of major political parties, prime ministers, legislatures, economists and technical experts drew the conclusion that Nepal can alone make Kathmandu-Nijgadh fast track and Nijgadh International Airport.
“We have enough resources to carry out these two projects. As there is no option to expand current Tribhuwan International Airport, proposed Nijgadh International Airport and Kathmandu Nijgadh Fast Track are the need of the hour,” said Rabindra Adhikary, chairman of Development Committee of Legislature Parliament.
“NC leader and former prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba went further ahead. “Let’s start construction from now. We have money and technology as well to complete such mega projects,” said Deuba.”
Read also: Where had all the tigers gone?
FAST TRACK – THE REALITY
Yet there are also some realists who see the details of the big picture clearly:
““There has been a fault from the beginning. Nepal government acquired land and allowed Nepal army to start the earthwork excavation without concluding the detailed design. The 2008 feasibility study was based on the present road standards. However, Fast Track requires significantly higher geometric standards. With 3.5 m wide Nepal Army excavated section, the slope cuts are about 50 m which definitely reach at least to 100 m if the road section is widened to four lane expressways. Road sections with hillside cut slopes in excess of 35 meters may be more costly than an alternative involving some form of structure. The road alignment is extremely fragile and excessive hill side slope invites accelerated landslides,” writes Shrestha. (See New Spotlight, 5 December 2014).”
“Although the words of Prime Minister Koirala, NC leader Deuba and CPN-UML leader Nepal, including chairman of Committee Adhikary sound nice, the reality is very different.
Technically and economically, both the projects are difficult to justify. So far as the fast track is concerned, technically, there is the need to complete more than five dozen bridges before reaching Nijgadh. At a time when Nepal’s growing regional disparity is coming to the fore, putting almost fifty percent of the budget in two projects in central region will have drastic implications to the other regions of Nepal.”
AIRPORT – THE DREAM
Photo: the map shows the huge area of the proposed SIA Airport (striped area framed in red) cut out from a dense and lush jungle where tigers, elephants deer, peacock and hundreds of bird species, and a variety of trees and plants lived for eras. The patch also includes the ancient holy place inside the jungle called KHAT GHAT, where a Shiva Temple and other temples are standing…The green “H” shows the place of Ram Bomjon’s meditation, and later his compound, just on the other side of the East-West Highway…The tragi-comedy about Bomjon’s fake nature conservation concerning handfuls of tree branches or herbs, in the vicinity of such an aggressive intrusion into the nature’s balance as an airport, railway and highway brings, is striking…
“Similarly, construction of Lumbini International Airport has already begun and construction of another regional international airport is at the last stage to begin in Pokhara. In that context, another international airport close to other three international airports is economically unjustifiable as well as technically unviable.”
Feb 6, 2016- The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan) has estimated that the proposed second international airport (SIA) in Nijgadh, Bara can be constructed at a cost of Rs121 billion, excluding the proposed airport city.
“According to the Korean company’s feasibility study, the airport will be able to handle 15 million passengers annually and accommodate the super-jumbo Airbus A380 after the first phase of construction. Meanwhile, Caan said the airport would be able to handle 20 million passengers annually in the first phase. The new assessment has proposed 25 aprons.”
The shocking fact behind this project is a huge punch into Nepal’s main attraction for international visitors: its nature and wildlife:
“The government needs to acquire another 84 bighas of land and cut a large number of trees and bushes. The law requires the project to plant 25 trees elsewhere for every tree it cuts down at the project site. Around 1,400 households will have to be relocated from the site. “All these factors have increased the project cost by Rs16-17 billion, and they were not included in the earlier report.”
Read also: Halkhoriya Jungle – legend and history
AIRPORT – THE ABSURDITY BEHIND BOMJON’S “JUNGLE CONSERVATIONIST” PETITIONS
(See also: Petition for the preservation and expansion of HalKhoria Forest)
Comparing this enormous loss for Nepal’s plant and animal life, it comes really absurd and tragically-comical how many people had been beaten and tortured by Ram Bahadur Bomjon, who was dwelling in Halkhoriya many years, in the name of protecting the trees and animals of “his meditation place – Tapasya Stall”, as he was claiming the 13 km circumference area inside the Halkhoriya jungle. Even recently his blindfolded Sangha’s hysterical international activists like Joan Stanley Baker, Ivy Jugoa or Andrea Good, had been writing long-long petitions to the Government and public, where they were demanding that Bomjon is returned to Halkhoriya to “protect the nature”, especially trees, tigers and other animals…
Photo: By the initiative of Bomjon’s bored-housewife-club, Joan Stanley-Baker, Ivy Jugoa, Andrea Good and Kim Nguyen a heart-throbbing petition had been published on various petition websites to allow Bomjon to return to Halkhoriya Jungle, which he had to leave after a “mere” dozen of brutal violent attacks against locals and foreign visitors, including kidnapping some of them and keeping chained in his jungle compound for months, ordering rapes and sophisticated tortures, beating most of them with sticks and attacking a few even with sword… Even after all this the Nepalese police forgave him and only requested him politely to move to another district, otherwise they would have to catch and jail him according to the law. Yet Bomjon took even this as an offense, and complained at the meeting with late PM Sushil Koirala that he was not allowed to continue in his “peaceful” “nature preservation” activity anymore… The blindfolded “bored-housewives-club” were fighting for his rights with their teeth and claws… As we see in the above snapshot, they somehow failed to attract the amount of supporters they dreamed of…Finally Bomjon’s “fight for Halkhoriya” became irrelevant when it came public that he is more interested in colonizing the West, then the remote village area of his jungle beginnings.
It is hard to believe that all those big fans of the Halkhoriya jungle, who claim to be nature-protectors, from of Bomjon’s organization (Bodhi Shrawan Dharma Sangha), had never heard about the 3 mega projects which directly effect the Halkhoriya Jungle’s wildlife and trees:
1, the Kathmandu-Nijgadh Fast Track highway,
2, the SIA International Airport
and the 3, Kathmandu-Birganj Railway project.
The 3 megaprojects are practically enclosing the area of Halkhoriya from 3 sides, and will require many years of tree cutting, village-shifting, transporting construction material in huge trucks, bringing in noisy heavy machinery, crowds of workers who will have to be accommodated (and thus for them other big areas of temporary housing will have been built on further cleaned areas)…
All these plans had been totally overlooked by Bomjon and his pseudo-conservationist Sangha leaders and his “blue army” of “monks”, even when these projects are much more harmful to the nature and peace of Halkhoriya than those alleged pickers of fodder, the shepherds or occasional walkers-by, whom Bomjon regularly captured, had beaten and had tortured in the name of “protecting the forest” or “ensuring peace for his meditation”…. Will they kidnap capture and torture those thousands of workers, political dignitaries and company bosses who will come and work on the jungle destructing projects of the Fast Track, SIA and Railway? Will they beat them with bamboo sticks as they did those who happened to come for a few fodders for a family meal to his jungle?
And again and again, the legends on which Bomjon had built his “hero image” and especially the image of the forever disturbed and harassed meditator, whom even the presence of a Yogini 10 km from his place caused nervousness – how would he now bear the disturbing presence of thousands of meat-eating and smoking workers, machines, generators and crowds? Will the construction of SIA, Fast Track and Railway not disturb his “holy samadhi” more than Marici did while taking shelter in the 6 km far Piluwa village? Or Maata Ani, a Sadhvi, who came to bow to him in silent reverence? Because both Marici ad Maata, among other tens of victims, he had kidnapped and tortured in the name of “disturbing his meditation”….
The absurdity of his then justifications of drastic criminal deeds will be now clearly challenged. And his allegedly nature-loving Sangha’s brutality against the “enemies” who were disturbing Halkhoriya’s peace, will become a joke in the sight of heavy machinery and aloud crowds of workers and all kinds of managers criss-crossing the Eastern Terai deep jungles…
Tigers, elephants, leopards, deer types, many types of birds, snakes, small and big mammals… the unprecedented variety of plants and animals which had been living in the Nijgadh area jungles, are going to loose their habitat in a very brutal way.
As one lama predicted, Halkhoriya will become like Lumbini, an empty commercial show in the name of Buddhism, where original jungles had been cut out and original villages destroyed, to make place for an artificial and “sterile” park where only the rich and influential are welcome… Till today Lumbini does not have a single Dharamshala for poorer and more spiritual visitors…
Halkhoriya will become the Disneyland of the “legendary Buddha Boy” with artificial fountains and pools with golden fish, gardens with trims bushes, asphalt walking paths and five-star hotels for the rich guests… The tigers and elephants will be maybe put in a Zoo, as they will have no more place to actually go…Or sold for good money to Zoos abroad…The actual deforestation of Halkhoriya had been started by this so called “Maitriya Guru” as the satellite images are clearly showing.
For this future of a dead jungle with had to be tens of victims beaten and tortured? Bomjon’s and his Sangha’s main justifications, why did they harm so many worshiping visitors of this jungle, will become transparently fake…
DIRECT TRANSFER TO HALKHORIYA AMUSEMENT-PARK: SUPERFAST KATHMANDU-BIRGANJ TRAIN
Another plan of Nepal (why not in the same time than the previous two ones?), is the Kathmandu-Birganj railway, which would allow the 60% of all goods coming from India to Nepal to be sped up (in case there will be no Madeshi Andolan, border-blocking, “banda” or similar unexpected natural events, God forbid another earthquake…!).
“NEPAL-Kathmandu-Birgunj Railway – A Surprise Inclusion in the 2016/17 Budget, On June 6, 2016, Jun 5, 2016- Feasibility study of the Kathmandu-Birgunj railway project has been a surprise inclusion in the budget for 2016-17 given the plan “had never been officially discussed”
Some other railways (yes, this will not e the only one!) are going to be built by Chinese help, to connect Lumbini, an important destination for Chinese Buddhists, with China…
Indian opinion: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/chinas-inexplicable-nepal-rail-project/article8760726.ece , http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/china/Alarm-bells-for-India-China-plans-to-build-rail-link-with-Nepal-through-Mt-Everest/articleshow/46866201.cms
“The budget has announced concluding the detailed project report of the Rasuwgadhi-Kathmandu-Pokhara-Lumbini railway in the next two years.”
“Apart from this, the plans are made long ago to connect Nepal’s East and West by the Mechi-Mahakali railway, and it seems that the time right after the earthquake, when thousands of families live in tents and schools and roads needs urgent repair, is the most appropriate time to do so”
http://www.ktm2day.com/2013/03/02/mechi-mahakali-railway-project-report-prepared/ . If railway, then let’s make five or six ones right away…
“A feasibility study of Mechi-Mahakali Electric Railway and Kathmandu-Pokhara Electric Railway carried out by RITES (India) in 2012 does not include the Birgunj-Kathmandu route. However, there are plans to connect Tamasariya to Abu-Khaireni—a junction of the Kathmandu-Pokhara railway.”
“Following the budgetary announcement, Department of Railway has planned to initiate survey works for the Kathmandu-Birgunj electric railway. “We are considering connecting Kathmandu and Birgunj through Nijgadh,” said Acharya.
“The government plans to conclude detailed project report of 135km Nijgadh-Hetauda-Bharatpur section of East-West Highway within a year. “We are also considering another railway section from Nijgadh to Kathmandu,” said Acharya.”
RAILWAY IN A ELECTRICITY LOAD-SHEDDING COUNTRY – AN ABSURD IDEA
As the http://www.gundrukpost.com/7-lies-naya-nepal-stop-believing-right-now/ emphasizes back in 2014, Nepal is still a country where electricity is switched off on a daily basis for many hours, when students study, families cook their meals and pharmacists read prescriptions at the light of candles… The famous “load shedding” of Nepal is apparent even when one arrives to the Tribhuvan Airport: when there is no electricity, all is covered with darkness and one could hardly find the way to the passport checking boot..
Yet in such a situation, without first addressing the tragicomic electricity shortage, the same country is planning to build an extensive network of electric fast trains! We can just imagine how will passengers feel when they get stuck in the middle of the planned tunnels when the many hours long load shedding hits during their railway trip…