A preliminary study on the international airport project at Aranmula has suggested lowering the height of the mast of Sree Parthasarathy Temple at Aranmula.
The report of the study, conducted by the Kerala Industrial and Technical Consultancy Organisation (KITCO), stresses the need to remove the obstruction posed by four hills in the vicinity of the project site after obtaining the mandatory permission from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).
The report suggests widening of the road leading to the proposed airport to 23 metres, which requires acquisition of land. The Paruthimoottilpady-Iykara stretch of the road should also be widened.
The report says the airport will require 1.2 lakh litres of water a day, and water-storage facilities should be built. It stresses the importance of regulating the flow of streams on the project site. A study conducted by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) in July 2012 recommended lowering the height of the temple mast and the four hills. The AAI report mentions the mast and the hills as objects on the approach surface, forming obstructions to the runway. It recommends lighting of the mast. An AAI team comprising D.P. Singh, P.C. Mittal and D. Moitra visited the site on July 2, 2012. The team had recommended that the “airport operator is required to take appropriate clearance from the MoEF towards cutting the hills and trees.”
In a statement here on Monday, the Temple Advisory Committee condemned the recommendation for lowering the height of the temple mast and the hills in the two reports. The statement called it a challenge to the freedom to practise religion of the Hindu community.
Madhav Gadgil, eminent ecologist, who visited the Aranmula Puncha (paddy fields and wetlands) forming the project site on November 7, opposed the conversion of the biodiversity-rich land.