Sabarimala Temple
Sabarimala TempleIANS (File photo)

Kerala gives nod for land acquisition to build airport near Sabarimala temple

Thiruvananthapuram, December 31, 2022

With four international airports already in operation in Kerala, the state government on Saturday gave the nod for land acquisition to build a fifth airport in Kottayam district near the famed Sabarimala temple.

The order from the Revenue Department states that 2,570 acres of land will be taken between Erumeli South and Manimala. The Cheruvally rubber estate has been selected as the place for the proposed airport.

Outside of the rubber estate, 307 acres of land will also have to be acquired, the order says.

The airport will be located 48 kms from the Sabarimala temple and will have a runway of 3,500 metres.

The state-run KSIDC has been appointed as the nodal agency for all the preliminary work, including taking over the land.

The Cheruvally estate is owned by the Thiruvalla-headquartered Believers Church and for long has been a contentious issue between the successive governments over the title of the estate.

The state government has all along contested that this land originally belonged to it.

The ownership over the estate has seen long, standing legal disputes between the present owners and successive state governments.

In 2016, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan got the informal sanction from then Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju for going forward to build an airport near the Sabarimala temple.

There has been a demand for an airport to cater to the Sabarimala pilgrims and during the Oommen Chandy government (2011-16), a proposal by a private player to build an airport at Aranmula in Pathanamthitta district got entangled in various issues at the local level.

After the Vijayan government assumed office in 2016, they revoked the earlier sanction given to the Aranmula airport and the search for another suitable land in the same district was started and finally has now been spotted.

Once the land is taken over, applications for numerous clearances will start.


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