Advantage sabarimala- Government eyes Cheruvalli estate for airport plan
MLA PC George, who had sent a proposal to CM Pinarayi Vijayan, said that the proposed airport at Erumely will be named Sabari airport or Sree Dharma Sastha airport. He had mentioned Cheruvalli and Laha estates as possible sites.
"There are many environmental issues at Laha. Based on a study , Cheruvalli estate was found suitable. I had talked to Archbishop KP Yohannan who owns the Cheruvalli estate two months ago and he had expressed his willingness to give land for the airport. I wrote to Vijayan and he acted quickly ," he said, adding that NRKs were ready to invest if the airport follows a PPP model. Around Rs 3,000 crore will be required to build the airport.
The estate, which was being held by Gospel for Asia, was part of 5,200 acres that was taken over by the special officer along with the land held by Travancore Rubber and Tea Company Ltd and Riya Resorts and Properties Pvt Ltd. Cheruvalli estate is one among the estates that were sold by Harrisons Malayalam Ltd in 2005. The special officer - who was appointed for resuming government land from HML - had inspected the estate on January 15, 2015 and found that the sale deed of the Cheruvalli estate, measuring 2,263 acres, did not contain any survey number in cluded in original document 16001923 held by HML.
Gospel for Asia had approached the high court claiming that the special office had no powers to issue the notice. After their plea was turned down by the single bench that asked the group to first make their claims before the special officer, the group then appealed against it in the division bench.
Last month, KSEB had written to the special officer seeking permission to erect a 110kV line through the property for im proving the power facility to Sabarimala which subsequently was placed before the high court.The court, in its order, gave permission to KSEB to erect the power line through the estate, without providing any compensation to Gospel for Asia.
Revenue department sources said that this order would be a favourable one for the government if it decides to come up with an airport at the estate."The high court has recognised it as government land which means the government can take up project there. If for a claim, suppose the ownership vests with the private group, the ownership is only for plantation and once the purpose is different, the exemption given to the group becomes redundant which then would be considered as surplus land. According to Kerala Land Reforms Act, surplus land can be utilized by the government for public purposes," said sources.