Kerala

Local body wants helipads dismantled

The temporary helipads set up at the Pathanamthitta municipal stadium.  

Days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Pathanamthitta, a perceived delay in dismantling the temporary helipads set up at the Municipal stadium to facilitate his arrival here has kicked up a row with the civic body seeking urgent intervention of the district administration.

T. Zakir Hussain, chairman, Pathanamthitta municipality, said a note had been handed over to the district administration seeking its intervention in restoring the multi-sports arena by dismantling the three helipads. The cost of the restoration works, according to him, should be borne by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which had organised the Prime Minister’s event.

“Prior to the Prime Minister’s arrival, the stadium was allotted to the BJP as advised by the district administration under a strict condition that it be restored at the earliest.

Besides erecting the helipads on the playground, several electric poles were removed to pave way for the safe landing of choppers while the athletic track too sustained major damage,” said Mr.Hussain. According to him, the decision with regard to approach the district administration was made in view of the impending uncertainty over a time-bound restoration of the public infrastructure.

“We had indeed approached the authorities with this demand immediately after the Prime Minister’s visit but were asked to wait till the elections were over. Now that the elections are over, but they are yet act upon our condition,” he added.

The Prime Minister landed in the stadium on April 2 afternoon as part of attending an election campaign in Konni.

After landing here, the Prime Minister proceeded to Pramadam, venue of his election campaign, by road and returned from here to Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu.

Meanwhile, the BJP leadership said the issue had come to its notice and assured all assistance in reinstating the space.

As the Prime Minister’s event was a political event, the BJP is committed to bearing the cost of restoring the stadium, said Ashokan Kulanada, president of the BJP district unit. Located at the heart of Pathanamthitta, the municipal stadium here witnessed several VIP arrivals including that of former Prime Ministers Rajiv Gandhi and V.P. Singh, in the past.

Delay

The inordinate delay in restoring the stadium after each VIP visit always triggered political debates in the municipal council and it was in this backdrop that the municipality, during a meeting of its council in 2007-08, decided against handing over the venue for such purposes.

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Printable version | May 10, 2021 2:42:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/local-body-wants-helipads-dismantled/article34305616.ece

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