Special Correspondent

Negotiations to be completed by November

192 acres already acquired in the first phase

136 households to be rehabilitated

KANNUR: As acquisition of 1,092 acres for developing the proposed Kannur airport near Mattannur will be completed by January next year, the State government has already initiated steps to form a promoting company as a precursor to the joint venture company in the pipeline.

This was disclosed at an official meeting at the Collectorate Conference Hall here on Monday which was attended by Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, who is also chairman of the Kannur Airport Action Committee, and V. Thulasidas, Special Officer for the proposed airport. Speaking at the meeting, Mr. Balakrishnan said that the government’s plan was to complete the airport project in time.

The acquisition of 1,092 acres would be completed in January as the procedures for taking possession of the land through negotiations would be completed in November, he said adding that the government would issue the acquisition order after the process of convening the District Level Purchase Committee (DLPC) and the State Level Purchase Committee (SLPC) was completed. The DLPC meeting would be held from November 7 and the SLPC would meet by the end of November, he added.

An extent of 192 acres had already been acquired in the first phase. The acquisition of 1,092 was expected to give a leeway to the government in its negotiations with private investors to form a company with private partnership, the meeting was told. Procedures of acquiring an additional 724 acres for the airport project were already under way.

The Minister said that the land would be acquired through negotiations. He said that the 1,092 were owned by 1,137 landholders.

There were also 136 households to be rehabilitated from land being acquired. As per the Central Civil Aviation Ministry’s norm, 2,000 acres of land should be set apart for the airport, he said adding that around 700 would be acquired for various purposes including rehabilitation of the displaced families. The proposed airport would be planned meticulously to ensure that it would bring about overall development of the region. The government had chalked out a plan to develop infrastructural facilities such as roads to be completed simultaneously with the airport, he added.

In his presentation on the proposed airport project, Mr. Thulasidas said that the joint venture company for developing the Greenfield airport would have 74 per cent stake for the private investors and 26 per cent stake for the State government. The private partners for the project would be selected through a transparent procedure, he said adding that consultants would be appointed for doing the selection process. The airport would have a main runway and a taxi track, he said adding that the construction works were expected to begin by mid-2009.

The infrastructure facilities proposed to be completed simultaneously with the airport project included six or four-lane roads connecting Mattannur and Kannur, Mattannur and Thalassery, Payyannur, Parassinikkadavu, Mayyil and Mattannur, Kodagu in Karnataka and Mattannur, Wayanad and Mattannur and Mahe and Mattannur, he said. The proposed Thalassery-Mysore railway line and an extension of the line to the proposed airport were also being pursued, he said.

The rehabilitation package included free assignment of 10 cents each to 136 families close to the place from where they were being displaced, development of infrastructure facilities for the rehabilitated families and priority for a member of each of the families, subject to their education, in the selection of personnel for airport jobs. A new website for the proposed airport www.kannurairport.org would be launched soon, he said adding that the public could post their suggestions and views on the project on the website.

MLAs K. Sudhakaran and K.K. Shylaja and District Collector Ishita Roy were also present. The meeting was attended by representatives of local bodies in the project area.