The initial surveying of areas for a feeder airport to be constructed at Anakkara in the district will begin on Tuesday.
District Collector T. Bhaskaran said the areas to be surveyed were Anchakkanam, Kalarickal and Poovanchimala.
Though the initial plan was to acquire 1,300 acres of land, only 500 acres will be surveyed now.
‘Against the laws’
Meanwhile, the Anti-Airport Agitation Council has said that they will oppose any move to construct an airport in the paddy fields of Anakkara.
The council chairman, T.A. Joseph said the move to construct an airport by filling paddy field is against the laws and the proposed air port is below 150 k.m. aerial distance from the Madurai airport.
In the name of tourism
He said there was a campaign going on to misinform the people about the proposed airport. It was incorrect that only 500 acres were needed for the project, he said adding that hundreds of families had to be rehabilitated as it was a densely populated area. It was solely done in the name of tourism promotion, he said.
Anakkara paddy fields are perennial source of water for Erattayar river, which is linked to the Idukki reservoir. The land to be acquired not only include vast paddy fields, but also pepper, coffee and cardamom cultivation areas. A large number of tribals had been rehabilitated in these areas under various schemes. Anakkara is one of the earliest settlement areas in the district, he said.
Earlier, the council had blocked a team from Delhi that arrived there to visit the proposed airport areas. All residents were united against the airport, Mr. Joseph said. He said if the airport was being constructed in the name of disaster management in the district, only a helipad needed to be constructed. The airport was planned to benefit the private sector, he alleged.
Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) is the nodal agency for the construction of the airport. An official meeting held in this regard at the collectorate on Monday was attended by Additional District Magistrate P.N. Santhosh, Sub-Collector Muhammed.Y. Safarulla and representatives of KSIDC.