House panel: Shelve airport at Aranmula
04th May 2013 08:45 AM
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture has recommended reconsideration of the proposed airport at Aranmula on the grounds that it violates the government policy of not allowing a new greenfield airport within 150 km of an existing airport.
The committee headed by CPM leader Sitaram Yechury, in its report, a copy of which is with Express, said, “The committee finds that the proposed greenfield airport at Aranmula is 120 km away from Thiruvananthapuram and 90 km from Kochi, where there are international airports and it ‘is violative of the government policy of not allowing an airport within 150 km’.
The report further stated that the international airports in Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi are new ones.
“The committee notes that the proposed Aranmula airport is violating the 150-km distance rule and the saturation, in terms of capacity, of nearby existing airports. The committee therefore recommends that the proposal for the construction of Aranmula airport may be reconsidered by the government,” the report stated.
Before coming out with the report, the panel asked for existing guidelines for setting up a second airport within an airport limit, and found that Chapter eight of Policy on Airport Infrastructure indicates that no greenfield airport will be normally allowed within an aerial distance of 150 km of an existing airport.
A greenfield airport may be permitted where an existing one is unable to meet the projected needs of traffic or a new point of traffic emerges with sufficient viability.
Parliamentary panel findings hailed
The Thiruvaranmula Paithruka Grama Karma Samiti (TPGKS) has welcomed the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism, and Culture chaired by Sitaram Yechury that found there was no need for setting up an airport at Aranmula in the 150-km radius of an international airport in Kerala.
Samiti general convener P.R. Shaji said the Parliamentary committee’s report was a supporting factor to the stand taken by the people of Aranmula on the controversial private airport project.
Mr. Shaji expressed hope that the Union government would accept the committee’s report and cancel clearances accorded to it without delay. The people’s action council’s strong fears were that the controversial private airport project at Aranmula involved alarming environmental and legal issues, he said. The Revolutionary Youth Front (RYF), too, welcomed the Parliamentary panel’s findings on the airport project.
Saleem P. Chacko, RYF national executive committee member, said the panel’s recommendation was a recognition to the ongoing mass movement against the project.
Cancel clearances: CPI
The Communist Party of India (CPI) has called upon the Union and the State governments to cancel whatever clearances they had granted for setting up the proposed private airport project at Aranmula in the wake of the findings of the parliamentary standing committee.
In a statement here on Friday, P. Prasad, CPI district secretary, said the committee findings had exposed the fact that various clearances granted to the controversial airport project by the Union Ministries of Defence and Civil Aviation were against the laws of the land.