Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Central delay leaves Kannur airport project grounded

Thiruvananthapuram: Kannur airport—Kerala’s second greenfield aviation project—has managed to wriggle out of the Centre’s recent two-runways caveat, after the Kerala government started humming a business diplomacy tune.
While the main promoter Leela Hotels group’s firming of technical partnership with Singapore Changi Airport has boosted confidence in the project, the crucial final clearance from Union civil aviation ministry, however, is stuck in a political airpocket.
It does look that to get the sorely needed final clearance, Praful Patel’s NCP and Kerala chief minister VS Achuthanandan’s CPI-M would have be closer politically.
Former Congress leader and Achuthanandan’s political beta noire K Karunakaran recently made an entry into the LDF in his new NCP avataar. Praful Patel has publicly announced, “(only) if Karunakaran seeks expediation of Kannur Airport, the project will gain pace.”
The earlier issue was the differences between Achuthanandan and main promotor Leela Group chairman Cap Krishnan Nair over the beach resort in Kovalam. This was ironed out after Nair took pains to make diplomatic overtures with Achuthanandan’s politburo collegues in Delhi.
05/12/06 M Sarita Varma/Financial Express
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