Kerala government is committed to set up India’s first low-cost private airport in the state’s Aranmula town despite opposition from some corners, said the State Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on July 16 in Thiruvananthapuram. However, majority of the legislators in the state assembly (72/140) had last week signed a petition to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh calling for stalling the KGS Aranmula International Airport on environmental grounds.
The airport project was sanctioned by the previous Left Democratic Front (LDF) government headed by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M). However, all its members, including VS Achuthanandan, who signed the initial order as chief minister, and his ministers, have now signed the petition. It was they who cleared the project in undue haste and earmarked thousands of acres of wetland for commercial utilisation as part of the project, the CM explained.
What we did was limit the use of land for the airport. The project should go on but we won’t utilise an inch of wetland for other purposes, the Chief Minister assured.
The airport now has a clear title of 500 acres in its possession and the state government has decided to regularise another 200 acres of land, which was recently notified as excess land by the revenue officials.