Conditional clearance for Aranmula airport project; widespread protest

published on November 20, 2013

The Ministry of Environment and Forests has cleared the proposed Aranmula international airport in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala. The ministry released the order giving full environmental clearance to the project, rejecting all the objections raised by several organisations and the people living in the vicinity of the proposed airport.

Environmentalists are protesting, alleging that large areas of paddy fields in the area have been filled for airport purposes violating land rules and the project would endanger the environment and heritage of Aranmula in Pathanamthitta district, where the famous Parthasarthi temple is situated.

The ‘Aranmula Heritage Protection Samiti’ leaders has vowed to go ahead with their struggle against the project.

Political parties, BJP and CPI (M), are strongly opposing the airport as the Aranmula area has been included in the UN World Heritage List. A major portion of the land required for the airport lies in the area’s paddy fields. Around 60 acres of paddy fields have already been acquired. The Hindu Aikya Vedi is also against the construction of the airport as it would pose a threat to the temple.

A study by Kitco (formerly Kerala Industrial and Technical Consultancy Organisation Limited) pointed out that the height of the flag post of the temple should be lowered and the main entrance of the temple should be shifted as these would be hurdles to take off and landing of the planes. The Aranmula Heritage Protection Committee stated they would file a suite against the government’s order before the Supreme Court.

Senior Congress leader V M Sudheeran said the government decision was unfortunate. BJP state president V Muraleedharan said his party would not allow the construction of the airport.

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