Kerala

Sabarimala airport project set to take off

Steps initiated to acquire land in Cheruvally estate

The government has decided to initiate steps to acquire land for the proposed Sabarimala greenfield international airport to come up on the Cheruvally estate in Kottayam district.

A total of 2,263.18 acres of land need to be acquired from the private estate in the Kottayam-Pathanamthitta border. The proposed airport, the fifth international airport in the State, will be 2.5 km from the Theni-Kottarakara National Highway and close to Erumeli town.

Government should issue notification for the consultant, Louis Berger Consulting Private Limited, to prepare the Detailed Project Report. “We have submitted the files to the government for issuing the notification,” Special Officer for Sabarimala airport V. Thulasidas told The Hindu.

Surveys

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), soil survey and other surveys will have to be carried out for getting the mandatory clearance from various ministries of the Union government.

A three-member committee, comprising the then Additional Chief Secretary (Revenue) P.H. Kurien, the then managing director of Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) M. Beena and the then Pathanamthitta District Collector R. Girija, tasked with site selection had recommended that the Cheruvally estate was the ideal spot.

The estate located on the way to Sabarimala is 136 km from the State capital and 113 km from Kochi.

The estate in Kanjirappally taluk, which is under litigation now, is mostly plain land, situated close to two National Highways and five PWD roads.

“The terrain is good and this will make the job easy for us. The airport can be commissioned in three years,” Mr. Thulasidas, who is also the Managing Director of Kannur International Airprt Limited, said.

In-principle nod

The Cabinet had already given the in-principle approval for the greenfield airport. Besides catering to the needs of travellers in central Travancore, the airport is expected to reduce the heavy traffic on the roads leading to Sabarimala during the pilgrim season and boost overall and tourism development in the region.

“The airport can cater to the strong NoRK population in the region. There is no concern over the air traffic,” Mr. Thulasidas added.

The airport has been proposed in place of the Aranmula airport project, which was dropped following public protest over environmental issues.

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Printable version | Jul 2, 2020 10:24:28 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/steps-to-acquire-land-for-sabarimala-airport/article31827512.ece

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