The state Cabinet has given its nod for a land portion of 2,267 acres, which was part of the Cheruvally estate of Harrison Plantations in Erumeli near Kanjirapally.
The Kerala government has identified a land parcel, which was formerly Harrison Plantation’s estate land in Kanjirappally, to set up its greenfield airport, catering to the Sabarimala hill shrine.
Consultancy firm Louis Berger is likely to be entrusted with the feasibility study for the state’s fifth airport.
The state Cabinet, which met on Wednesday, gave its nod for the land portion of 2,267 acres, which was part of the Cheruvally estate of Harrison Plantations in Erumeli near Kanjirappally.
The land is near two national highways and five state PWD roads. The proposed airport would be a mobility hub for the Sabarimala temple, which has nearly 50 million visitors per season.
Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan had assigned a three-member committee, headed by additional chief secretary PH Kurian , to identify and rank three spots in Pattanamthitta and one in Kottayam, for the airport project. That was how the Harrison estate was picked up. The location is 113 km from Kochi, says a release from the chief minister’s office (CMO).
Kerala State Industry Development Corporation (KSIDC) had been working on a feasibility study for the airport for Sabarimala at the state Cabinet’s behest. It had issued global tenders for consultancy for the feasibility study. Louis Berger, which quoted `3 crore, is the frontrunner for the assignment.
It was in February 2016 that the Pinarayi Vijayan government accorded in-principle sanction to construct the greenfield Sabarimala airport. Earlier, the previous Congress-led UDF government had gone ahead with plans to set up an airport at Aranmula with Chennai-based KGS Group, but there was stiff resistance from environmental groups, pointing out that the identified land was illegally reclaimed filling paddy lands. This was against the wetland conservation policy of Kerala. In deference to the pressure from environment groups, the LDF government had last year cancelled all orders related to the project, including the grant of in-principle sanction.