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Sabarimala airport in high priority list: Kerala Minister

 
Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 8 (IANS) The Kerala Assembly on Friday was informed by the Minister of Devaswom and Temples K. Radhakrishnan that the government is going ahead with the proposed Sabarimala airport and would be completed in a time bound manner.

Radhakrishnan was replying for Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to a calling attention motion moved by N. Jayaraj on the topic about the proposed Sabarimala airport.

"The Cheruvally rubber estate has been selected as the place for the proposed airport. The feasibility study report has already been submitted to the Civil Aviation Ministry and they have sought more details and it would be given shortly," said Radhakrishnan.

"The state-run KSIDC has been appointed as the nodal agency for all the preliminary work, including taking over the land. This airport is in the high priority list of the government and it would be completed in a time bound manner," added Radhakrishnan.

Located in Kottayam district, the 2,263 acres Cheruvally estate lies about 48 kms from the famed Sabarimala temple.

Incidentally, this proposed estate is owned by the Thiruvalla headquartered Believers Church and for long has been a contentious issue between the successive governments over the title of the estate. The state government has all along contested that this land originally belongs to it.

The ownership over the estate has seen long standing legal disputes between the present owners and the state government and is in the Kerala High Court.

It was in 2016 that Vijayan got the informal sanction from Union Civil Aviation Minister Anand Gajapathy Raju for going forward to build an airport near the Sabarimala temple.

There has been a demand for an airport to cater to the Sabarimala pilgrims and during the Oommen Chandy government (2011-16), a proposal by a private player to build an airport at Aranmula, in Pathanamthitta district got entangled in various issues at the local level. After the Vijayan government assumed office in 2016 May, they revoked the earlier sanction given to the Aranmula airport and the search for another suitable land in the same district was started.

--IANS
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