The attempt to kick-start the preliminary work of the proposed airport here, has prompted environmentalists and other organisations to raise the banner of opposition.
While one section claims that the setting up of the airport may disturb the ecological balance of the area, another section feels that the airport is being laid to increase conveyance facility of scientists visiting the Indian Neutrino Observatory in Theni, which is not far off from the region.
Rubbishing all these claims, the people’s representatives have said that the modern transporting facility will help tap the potential of a place like Idukki, which has immense tourism opportunities.
The tourism destination of Thekkady is around 15 km away and Munnar, around 85 km from the area.
Chakkupallam panchayat president Antony Scaria Kuzhikkattu, who has worked hard to set the ball rolling, said that the people, who were evicted for the project, should be given suitable compensation.
They should also be given preference in indirect jobs that will come up near the airport.
The proposed airport is likely to require 1,100 acres of land in Anakkara and Sulthankada in Chakkupallam panchayat.
George Uthup of Vandanmedu panchayat, which is likely to give around 300 acres for the project, feels that the evicted should get sufficient remuneration to enable them to buy land in nearby areas. Achankanam, Kongallumedu, Kochara are the areas identified in Vandanmedu.
The Collector had recently conducted a study of the area, as per the request of the Airports Authority of India. The authority had already submitted its feasibility report, conducted in 2009, to the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation.
There are reports of many farmers quitting farming in the wake of reports that efforts are on for the setting up of the airport.
The proposal for the airport was made by the previous LDF government by allocating `5 crore, while the UDF government has earmarked `50 lakh.
The Central Government is not keen to invest heavily in the project, which may require at least `350 crore to make it operational, a political leader of the ruling front said.
As similar airports in the country are seeing red, the Central Government has suggested involvement of private sector to float the project.