Kannur airport in political turbulence
Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] leader and Mattannur MLA E.P. Jayarajan’s one-day fast at the Kannur International Airport project site on Tuesday in protest against an alleged bid by the government to curtail its development into a major airport has reduced the project under construction into a poll bone to fight over.
Mr. Jayarajan’s protest fast was to bring to light what he said was the State government’s covert effort to hastily inaugurate the project by completing the runway up to 2,400 metres as against the original 4,000-metre runway proposed by the previous Left Democratic Front (LDF) government. The United Democratic Front (UDF) leadership here alleged that Mr. Jayarajan’s protest was triggered by the hectic work at the project site going on as per schedule. Rural Development Minister K.C. Joseph at a meet-the-press on October 19 had alleged that Mr. Jayarajan was motivated by the fact that the airport was nearing completion. Trial landing would be done at the site in December and the first phase of the project with the runway length of 3,050 metres would be completed in May 2016, he said adding that the runway length would be extended to 3,400 metres in the second phase. There was no move on the part of the government or Kannur International Airport Ltd. to cut short the runway length to 2,400 metres, he said.
Mr. Jayarajan’s allegation was that plans were afoot for the inauguration of the airport project without the development of full-fledged amenities by the UDF government to claim credit in the election.