Kerala's first private international airport gets nod

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 19 : India's first private international airport to be built in Aranmula in Kerala's Pathanamthitta district has been given all clearances, the final from the ministry of environment and forests, an official said Tuesday.

The proposed Rs.2,000 crore KGS Aranmula International Airport complex will be constructed over 700 acres, of which KGS has already acquired 500 acres.

The site is located about 110 km from the state capital, and around 30 km from the Sabarimala temple.

With this, Kerala would have five airports, including three in operation at Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode, and at Kannur.

Addressing reporters here, the managing director of the proposed airport, Gigi George said that the work on the airport would start shortly and it is expected to be ready for operations by November 2015.

"Contrary to media reports that the height of the flag post of Aranmula temple and a few hills in the vicinity would have to be reduced, nothing of that sort is needed," said George.

"The UDF government (assumed office May 18, 2011) decided to take a 10 percent sweat equity in the airport project and gave us 50 acres (of land)," he said.

After the Oommen Chandy government assumed office, it decided to increase the sweat equity from the earlier three percent decided by the Achuthanandan government.

The Left opposition in the state, however, has repeatedly asked the Chandy government to not proceed with the proposed airport project.

Also joining the protest against the airport, state Bharatiya Janata Party president V. Muraleedharan told reporters his party will not allow the construction of the airport at any cost.

--IANS (Posted on 19-11-2013)

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