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Centre rejects Sabarimala Airport proposal, points out flaws in Kerala government's plan

Asianet News accessed a copy of the letter sent by the Centre to Kerala which cited a report submitted by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. 

Centre rejects Sabarimala Airport proposal, points out flaws in Kerala government's plan VPN
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New Delhi, First Published Sep 20, 2021, 12:20 PM IST
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Kerala government's proposal to construct an airport at Cheruvally Estate, near Erumeli, in Kottayam district is unlikely to take off with both the civil aviation and defence ministries denying it clearance. 

Asianet News accessed a copy of the letter sent by the Centre to Kerala which cited a report submitted by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. 

The DGCA report stated that the location suggested by the state government for the airport was not suitable and impractical. 

The DGCA states that the Technical Feasibility Report prepared by the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation did not correctly assess the space required to ensure the length of the airport runway. 

According to the DGCA report, two villages in Cheruvally will be affected by the airport. The aviation regulator rapped the KSIDC for not providing details about the number of people who reside in these two villages.

The regulator also pointed out technical flaws in the airport site identified by the Left Democratic Front government. According to rules, a new airport cannot be constructed within 150 kilometres of an existing airport. However, the Cheruvally Estate site is around 100 km from Cochin International Airport and around 146 kilometres from Trivandrum International Airport. The DGCA notes that the new airport could get signal interference from either of the two airports.

Following the Centre's report, the Kerala government has convened an urgent meeting to evaluate the next course of action.

The Sabarimala airport project

A pet project of the Pinarayi Vijayan government, the Sabarimala airport was proposed to be built on an area spread across 570 acres in Cheruvally Estate which is close to Erumely town. Erumely is situated on the way leading to the revered hill shrine of Sabarimala.

The KSIDC report stated that around Rs 570 crore would be needed for land acquisition alone. The estimated cost of Phase 1 of the project was pegged at around Rs 1,700 crore.

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