The Minister of Devaswom and Temples K Radhakrishnan informed the Kerala Assembly on Friday that the government would go ahead with the proposed Sabarimala airport. Radhakrishnan was responding to a calling attention motion moved by N Jayaraj.
"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," he added.
Cheruvally estate is in the Kottayam district and spans across 2,263 acres. It is about 48 km from the Sabarimala temple and is owned by the Thiruvalla based Believers Church. The title of the estate has been a matter of debate between successive governments. The issue of its ownership is a long-standing legal dispute and is in the Kerala High Court, with the state government claiming that the land originally belongs to it.
CM Pinarayi Vijayan got the informal sanction from the Union Covil Aviation Minister Anand Gajapathy Raju for the airport in 2016. The airport has long been in demand to cater to Sabarimala pilgrims. During the Oommen Chandy government, between 2011 and 16, a private player had proposed to build an airport at Aranmula in Pathanamthitta. However, it later got entangled in several issues. The Pinarayi government revoked the earlier sanction given to Aranmula once he assumed office for the first term in 2016 May.