Aranmula airport plan gets MoEF go-ahead - The New Indian Express

Aranmula airport plan gets MoEF go-ahead

Published: 20th November 2013 08:27 AM

Last Updated: 20th November 2013 12:56 PM

Turning a blind eye to protests by environmentalists, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) has given clearance to the private airport project at Aranmula in Pathanamthitta district.

With the MoEF giving environmental clearance to the project, the KGS Aranmula  International Airport Ltd, promoters of the airport, has obtained all the approvals for the Rs 2,000 crore project that will be constructed over 700 acres.  

Disclosing the details here on Tuesday, KGS Aranmula Ltd Managing Director Gigi George and Executive Director T P Nandakumar said the airport will be developed without any damage to the environment or harming the heritage and culture of the area.

George stated that work will start at the earliest and the airport’s commercial operations will commence in December 2015.

He also noted that they got all relevant clearances for the first greenfield airport project from the Ministries of Civil Aviation, Defence, Home Affairs, and the State Governments and the work would commence at the earliest.

Claiming that they have not reclaimed any land for the project, George said they had only bought land that was reclaimed by the previous owner.

Reiterating that it was during the previous LDF Government that the project was rolled out, George said, “the LDF had given in-principle approval for the project in 2010. The LDF Government had declared about 500 acres of land in and around Aranmula as industrial area in 2011. The LDF had helped a lot for the airport,” he said.

The KGS Group has 400 acres of land registered in their name and will get 50 acres from the government.  

Nandakumar also claimed that there was no case relating to the 400 acres acquired by them. It is estimated that 700 acres of land is needed for the airport.

“There is no compulsory acquisition of even one cent of land. All the land required for the project was bought at market price. There is no eviction, displacement, rehabilitation or resettlement of even one family,” he said.

On the issue of lowering the height of the mast of Sree Parthasarathy Temple at Aranmula, George said that there would not be any change.

“The temple will be untouched. How can we alter a temple?” asked Nandakumar.

The proposed airport will give a boost to the tourism sector considering its proximity to backwater destinations such as Kumarakom in Alappuzha and is also close to Sabarimala temple, the promoters said. 

George said along with the airport the company was planning an aeropolis. The project will generate direct employment to 1,500 people and indirect jobs to more than 6,000.

Meanwhile, those who are on a warpath against the project alleging that it posed a threat to the ecological system and heritage of Aranmula, have vowed to continue their agitation. The BJP, Hindu Aikya Vedi and the CPM have come against the Centre’s decision to grant clearance.

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