Aranmula Airport cleared, but no landing place

Chandrakanth Viswanath
Dec 21, 2011 at 12:15pm IST

THIRUVANANTHPURAM: The Aranmula airport, envisaged as an ambitious initiative under private promoters, had bagged the preliminary in-principle sanction from the LDF Government without even acquiring a cent of  land. Documents have surfaced to show that the  Chennai-based KGS company, the promoters, had not fulfilled the conditions  while sourcing the go-ahead for  the project.  
The Cabinet  had given the nod for the greenfield airport on September  2, 2010, on the condition that the company should find the land on its own.  But an order  issued  just six days later  by  T Balakrishnan, then Additional Chief Secretary,  said that the company owns 350 acres of land in the area, when it was nil in real terms.
Also, four  days before the declaration of  the Assembly  elections in March this year, the Industries Department had issued a notification in haste for declaring 500 acres of land  coming under  Aranmula, Mallapuzhassery and  Kidangannoor villages as an  industrial area and also formed  the ‘greenfield airport Aranmula single window clearance board’.
Records dated  November 28, 2011, issued  from the Aranmula village office say  that there is “no land in the name and address of  KGS Airport as per the records of this office’’. Moreover, the authorities are yet to take a favourable decision on  KGS  Aranmula Airport Company’s  request to the Pathanamathitta District Collector on November 1, 2011, for the mutation  of   299.9 acres of  land spread in  four villages  of  Kozhenchery taluk.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation had granted ‘site clearance’ for setting up a greenfield airport on  October  28, 2011 though it was stated  otherwise in the Rajya Sabha just before that. On November 12, 2010,  V S Achuthanandan, then Chief Minister,  had directed  the District Collector   to take immediate steps for making the land transferable for building purposes, as per records available with Express.
The District Collector has convened an all-party meet on Friday as public opposition is mounting amid reports that the project is bound to displace around 1,000 families.

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