'Aranmula Airport project not urgent'
In what could prove to be shot in the arm for organisations which are protesting against the proposed airport in Aranmula, a document prepared by the Department of Revenue (DoR) under the union government states that there is no urgency for such a facility at the spot, which is equidistant from two international airports in the state.
The Department of Revenue controls direct and indirect union taxes through the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC).
The CBEC, in a memorandum submitted to the civil aviation ministry dated July 9, 2012, refers to decisions taken in the steering committee meeting held on June 27 the same year. The memorandum says that “There appears to be no urgent requirement to construct a greenfield airport in Aranmula at this juncture, as the requirements of the international passengers in the state are catered by the existing airports.”The office memorandum argues that the facility “should be restricted to clear international passengers only, subject to augmentation of existing Customs staff strength and accepting the payment of cost recovery charges there as per norms,” in case the airport is commissioned.
The Under Secretary of the department says “he is directed that matter has been examined in consultation with jurisdictional Chief Commissioner of Customs and it is informed that there are four International Airports located in Kerala (the existing ones at Calicut, Cochin and Trivandrum while the other one under construction at Kannur) and there is one in Mangalore,” lying close to the state.