Kerala

Sabarimala airport to come up on Cheruvally estate

The proposed Sabarimala greenfield international airport in Central Travancore is to come up on the Cheruvally estate, 2.5 km from the Theni-Kottarakara National Highway and close to Erumeli town in Kottayam district.

The weekly Cabinet meeting approved the recommendation of the three-member committee headed by Additional Chief Secretary (Revenue) P.H. Kurien that the proposed airport be set up on the estate, which is located on the way to the Ayyappa temple at Sabariamala, 136 km from the State capital and 113 km from Kochi. Once commissioned, this would be the fifth international airport in the State.

The estate in Kanjirappally taluk, the subject of litigation for sometime now, is spread over 2,268 acres, mostly plain land, situated close to two NH corridors and five PWD roads. The three-member committee that included Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) managing director M. Beena and Pathanamthitta Collector R. Girija had apparently gone by the site selection report of the AECOM, global provider of technical and support services to airport owners, investors and aviation clients. The US-based company is the technical consultant for the upcoming Kannur International Airport.

In its report, AECOM had concluded that the Cheruvally estate is the ‘most-preferred location’ for the airport. New Delhi-based Global Indian Association (GIA), a non-political organisation working for the welfare of NRIs, had roped in the AECOM following the shelving of the airport at Aranmula in Pathanamthitta district.

In-principle approval

The Cabinet had given the in-principle approval for the greenfield airport in February this year and entrusted the KSIDC with the task of conducting the feasibility study.

Besides catering to the needs of the flyers in Central Travancore, the airport is expected to reduce the heavy traffic on the roads leading to Sabarimala during the pilgrim season. Pilgrims alighting at the Chengannur and Thiruvalla railway stations reach Sabarimala through various routes linked to M.C. Road or National Highway.

The Cheruvally estate is one of the five sites identified in Pathanamthitta and Kottayam districts for a ₹2,500-crore greenfield airport to be developed by a joint venture of Non-Resident Indians. Armed with the AECOM report, the GIA had approached the Chief Minister in December last seeking in-principle approval for the aeropolis. The GIA had also floated a company, Indo-Heritage International Aeropolis Pvt. Ltd. (IHIAPL), for executing the project and opened its office in Pathanamthitta.

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Printable version | Oct 30, 2020 7:16:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/sabarimala-airport-to-come-up-on-cheruvally-estate/article19308777.ece

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