‘No nod for airport plan from MoEF’

February 16, 2013 12:00 am | Updated 06:01 am IST - PATHANAMTHITTA

Action council to intensify agitation

: Union Minister for Forests and Environment (MoEF) Jayanthi Natarajan has clarified that the Ministry has not given environmental clearance for the proposed airport project at Aranmula, said Kummanam Rajashekharan, chief patron of the Thiruvaranmula Paithruka Grama Karma Samiti (TPGKS).

Addressing a press conference here on Friday, the samiti leader said the Union Minister had sent a letter (D.O No-51/2010-IA.III, dated January 31, 2013) to Sushma Swaraj, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha,, categorically clarifying that “environmental clearance for the project has not been granted so far.”

Mr. Rajashekharan said the clearance given by the Defence Ministry as well as the Ministry of Civil Aviation were dependent on the environmental clearance. Moreover, another clarification by the Aranmula grama panchayat, on the basis of a letter submitted by the Samiti under the Right to Information Act, said the local body had not given permission to set up an airport in Aranmula.

“How can the Chennai-based KGS company obtain clearance from the Director General of Civil Aviation when the applicant is supposed to produce the clearance certificates issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) as well as the local authority, along with the application for technical approval of the aerodrome site,” he asked.

He said Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, the KGS Group and other interested parties were misleading the people by issuing baseless claims on the airport project.

The samiti leader called for a detailed investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the alleged irregularities, corruption, and malpractices in the name of the private airport project.

Mr. Rajashekharan said the Chief Minister’s statement in the Assembly that the airport would be constructed in Aranmula by converting the water-rich wetland and paddy lands was nothing short of a challenge to the common man. He said the people’s action council would intensify the ongoing agitation against the airport project. Panchayat-level paddy land protection rallies would be held before February 25. Zonal paddy land conservation meeting would be held at Mavelikkara on February 24. The samiti will hold a satyagraha in Aranmula from March 1, he said.

Mr Rajashekharan said the people’s action council had already moved the Green Tribunal in Chennai, against the proposed private airport project at Aranmula.

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