Greenfield airport at Karaikal waiting to take wings

A long-felt yearning of pilgrims and tourists for an airport at Karaikal could be fulfilled under UDAN 4.0, the latest round of Regional Connectivity Scheme, if only the Puducherry government plays its constructive part at this juncture, according to representatives of trade and tourism sector.

The fourth round of Regional Connnectivity Scheme has now lessened the burden of land acquisition, as a runway length of 1.2 km would suffice for operating below 20-seater aircrafts.

With the Ministry of Civil Aviation setting its sights on operationalising 1,000 routes and more than 100 airports in the next five years, the tourism sector hopes that the Puducherry government would, in right earnest, factor in the convenience of pilgrim tourists visiting Thirunallar Saneeswaran Temple, the Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health in Velankanni and the Nagore Andavar Dargah, and play a pro-active role in enabling establishment of the greenfield airport by the Karaikal Airport Private Limited (KAPL).

The Puducherry government had proposed a 560-acre expanse for the project to the Ministry of Civil Aviation. But, there were problems in land acquisition since a sizeable chunk constituted agricultural fields. The promoter managed to acquire 230 acres from private owners so far, and will be in a position to continue with the project if some extent of land on the proposed runway path is acquired.

The project for which the promoter has invested ₹20 crore so far could not take off due to the difficulty in acquiring land on the runway path.

The Puducherry cabinet had, last year, cleared a proposal to engage Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) for reviving the project. But, the CIAL backed off after studying the complications involved in land acquisition, according to an official source.

A votary of the greenfield airport said the onus was on the Puducherry government to secure legal clearance for the sale of a land parcel of 110 acres belonging to the Dharmapuram Adheenam, which had expressed inclination to dispose off the property a decade back.

“In the event of getting the title for the land on the runway path, we will be able to start off with small aircraft, and subsequently move on to operating ATR-type aircraft,” J.V. Chowdhury, Chairman of KAPL told The Hindu.

“We are prepared not only to provide cultivable land of equal value elsewhere in Karaikal for the farmers who are tenants of the Adheenam land, but also see through their economic development through tie-up with international organisations,” Mr. Chowdhury said.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2021 1:55:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/greenfield-airport-at-karaikal-waiting-to-take-wings/article30979514.ece

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