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Aranmula airport: Kerala blamed for failure to protect own land

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on March 12, 2018

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India has blamed the Kerala Government for its failure to protect its own land and prevent reclamation of paddy fields as part of the now-stalled Aranmula greenfield airport work.

Its latest report on ‘Land management by the Government of Kerala with special focus on land for Aranmula Airport and Smart City, Kochi’ was tabled in the State Assembly on Tuesday.

Not verified

In-principle approval for the airport project was granted without verifying whether the developer had sufficient land as also its impact on four other international airports within an aerial distance of 150 km.

By accepting the equity of the company, the Government had become a party to the illegal filling of land, encroachments and environmental and ecological problems created by the developer, the report said.

Guidelines for granting licence framed under the Aircraft Act stipulated that a greenfield airport could not be allowed within an aerial distance of 150 km of an existing civilian airport.

On granting of clearance, if at all, its impact on the existing airport should be examined.

‘No urgent need’

The Central Board of Excise and Customs had concluded that there was no urgent need to construct the airport, the report noted.

In-principle clearance was given without considering these and other aspects. Neither was any in-depth study conducted before granting the clearance.

The temple mast of the Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple situated only 905 m away from the proposed runway was 30.08 m in height but the permissible elevation was 23.7 m.

The four hills in the vicinity of the proposed airport would have needed to be razed and entire rubber plantations and other large trees cut down.

The report wanted the Government to conduct an independent inquiry into cases of violations of provisions of various Acts and rules and also lapses that have occurred at all levels, including in individual Departments.

Published on July 09, 2014

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