Thursday, June 18, 2020

Kerala clears plan to acquire ''controversial'' land for Sabarimala airport

Thiruvananthapuram: After dilly-dallying, the Pinarayi Vijayan government in Kerala has begun the process to acquire land for the proposed Sabarimala airport.

A government panel of bureaucrats sometime back was told to identify the land for the proposed airport. The panel zeroed in on 2,263- acre Cheruvally rubber estate in Kottayam district for the proposed airport.

It will be the fifth international airport in Kerala, which is already the first state in the country with four international airports.

As soon as the decision became public, state BJP chief K. Surendran termed it as a fraudulent deal.

On Thursday the Vijayan government gave the nod to the Kottayam district collector to go ahead with the land acquisition.

Located in Kottayam, the estate lies about 48 km from the famous Sabarimala temple.

The rubber estate is owned by Thiruvalla-headquartered Believers Church and its title has for long been a contentious issue involving successive governments who have contended that the land originally belongs to the state government.

The ownership issue involving its present owners and the state government has been lying with the Kerala High Court.

It was in 2016 that Vijayan got the informal go-ahead from the then Union Civil Aviation Minister Anand Gajapathy Raju to build an airport near the Sabarimala temple.
18/06/20 IANS/Outlook
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