The Central government's reiteration of the 'in-principle' approval for the establishment of the proposed Kannur airport is an fresh impetus to the land acquisition process which is under way near Mattannur here.

Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday that the Government had given 'in-principle' approval for the establishment of 12 greenfield airports in various parts of the country. They included the proposed Kannur airport. The Minister's announcement, reiterating the 'in-principle' approval for the proposed greenfield airports including the Kannur airport has come at a time when the efforts are on to accelerate acquisition of land for the proposed airport at Mattannur here. In the second phase of land acquisition that is under way, 148 hectares of land have been acquired. This was in addition to 77 ha of land acquired in the first phase years ago.

Over the past six months, 371 land documents had been registered for the acquisition purpose and disbursed a compensation of Rs. 65.8 crore among those who handed over the land. Kinfra has mobilised Rs. 250 crore for the acquisition procedure for the airport which has been envisaged as a public-private partnership (PPP) project in which the government and the private partners will have 24 per cent and 76 per cent stakes respectively.

Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, who is also chairman of the Kannur Airport Actio Committee, earlier said that the airport would be completed in three years after the completion of the land acquisition by January 2010. Kinfra would take possession of 485 ha of land by the end of this year, he had said at a seminar here a few weeks ago.

A company, Kannur International Airport Ltd., was to be floated for the development of the airport, he said adding that efforts to find out private partners through transparent global tenders would begin after the land acquisition was completed. The Minister had also said that the work for developing infrastructural facilities including roads to the proposed airport would also be taken up simultaneously.