Sabarimala airport now awaits environmental clearance, gets defence ministry nod

Sabarimala airport
Sabarimala airport's proposed site aerial view. Photo: Manorama Online

New Delhi: The Ministry of Defence has given its approval for constructing an airport at Cheruvally Estate, near Erumely, close to Sabarimala in Kerala's Pathanamthitta district.

Responding to a question by MP Anto Antony in the Lok Sabha, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia clarified that the Defence Ministry had informed that it did not have any objection to the airport being constructed.

Now, the environmental clearance was being awaited.
Scindia said that the environmental impact study of the airport project was being carried out by the State Industrial Development Corporation.

He said that the Corporation had been asked to study how building the airport at Sabarimala would affect the airports at Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, and Madurai, which were within a 150-km radius. The final decision would be taken based on these study reports.

“A report on the airports at Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi which fall within 150 km of the Sabarimala airport has been already submitted. A report on Madurai airport is also being prepared as demanded by the authority. It is presumed that the Sabarimala airport will not affect Madurai in any manner. The survey for the environmental impact study is being conducted. If approval is granted for that too, the airport project could be taken forward,” said V Thulasidas, Special Officer, Sabarimala Airport.

The airport will greatly benefit the natives of Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Alappuzha, and Idukki. It will be just 40 km far from Kottayam town. Also, the residents of certain districts in Tamil Nadu too can quickly reach the airport.

With its proximity to pilgrim centres Sabarimala, Erumeli and Maramon and other destinations frequented by domestic and international travellers, the project is also expected to boost tourism in the region.

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