Thiruvananthapuram: The proposed airport in the hilly district of Wayanad will go ahead only after taking into confidence the people of the district, Excise and Ports Minister K. Babu said here on Saturday.
Wayanad is set high on the Western Ghats, with altitudes ranging from 700 to 2,100 metres. The district sees many tourists flow in, especially from nearby Karnataka towns.
Babu, speaking after a high level meeting Saturday about the proposed airport, said that his cabinet colleague P.K. Jayalekshmi, state minister for scheduled tribes who also hails from Wayanad, will hold further discussions with the people of the district about the new airport.
"The project will only go ahead if we get a techno-economic feasibility report and environment clearance. But even before those, we need the consent of local people," Babu, who is also minister in charge of new airports, said.
If the Wayanad airport proposal is cleared, it will be the sixth airport in the state.
There are three international airports in Kerala, at Kozhikode, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. Work on the Kannur airport is expected to begin shortly. The Aranmula airport awaits environment clearance.
"We require about 400 acres of land for the Wayanad airport at Panamaram. If this project gets cleared, land would be acquired and compensation paid as per prevailing market rates. Those who have to move out will be rehabilitated. All fears would be addressed. At the next meeting, to be held in Wayanad, all issues would be discussed in detail," Babu said.