The Kerala Government has asked infrastructure firm Louis Berger to come out with a detailed feasibility report (DFR) on the proposed Rs 2,500-crore greenfield Sabari airport for the pilgrim shrine Sabarimala at the earliest.
The Kerala Government has asked infrastructure firm Louis Berger to come out with a detailed feasibility report (DFR) on the proposed Rs 2,500-crore greenfield Sabari airport for the pilgrim shrine Sabarimala at the earliest. It was Louis Berger Consultancy that did the techno-economic feasibility study and the environment impact assessment for the proposed airport.
The state government is worried about whether the devastating floods of August had radically changed the environmental potential for the airport, officials in the chief minister’s office told FE.
New Delhi-based Global Indian Association (GIA), a non-political diaspora outfit, had approached the Pinarayi Vijayan government in December 2017, floating a company Indo-Heritage International Aeropolis for the airport plan. It was the US-based engineering firm AECOM, which had been the technical consultant for the flight-ready Kannur International Airport, that identified the 2,268-acres Cheruvally estate in Erumely as the Sabari airport site.
Earlier, Kerala government had announced that it had identified land of setting up airstrips in each of its 14 districts to improve air-connectivity. There are concerns about the post-flood viability of these identified air-strips, as the unprecedented rains, spring tides and river-spillage had inundated the land contours.
Quoting a state government order (GO) dated 24 September 2017, CM Vijayan had told the state assembly that Louis Berger had been told not just to file the feasibility report, but also facilitating the necessary clearances for the airport from the Centre.
It was when Aranmula airport project, for the pilgrim shrine Sabarimala, was dropped on environmental concerns, Kerala was forced to consider new site at Erumely.
The Sabari airport would be Kerala’s fifth airport, if it fructifies. However, its future depends on the business model and environmental viability that the final report of Louis Berger would spell out.