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Green Tribunal Stays Construction Of Aranmula Airport Project
April 02, 2013

Green Tribunal Stays Construction Of Aranmula Airport Project       
02 April 2013

T. E. Raja Simhan,Chennai:  The National Green Tribunal has stayed the construction of the Aranmula airport project in Kerala.

It has objected to the conversion of wet land and paddy fields in to industrial land, marking a major setback to the project, in which the Kerala Government has a 15 per cent stake.

The order should cheer local people who have been fighting against the project on the fear that the airport could harm the ‘heritage’ tag of the town.
Global heritage village

Aranmula has been declared as a global heritage village by the UNESCO. It is noted for its ancient Krishna temple , which is located on tip of the project site, and for handcrafted metal mirrors.

A three-member Bench headed by Justice M. Chockalingam, Judicial Member, gave an injunction order to stop any construction activity in the site until further orders.

This was based on a petition filed by the Aranmula Heritage Village Protection Action Council, which was represented by counsel Ramesh Kumar Chopra and Era Meyappan.

The Tribunal, which is based in Chennai, was set up in October 2010 for cases relating to environmental protection, conservation of forests and other natural resources.
‘Not a setback’

“The tribunal’s order is not a setback. We will be able to convince the honourable court that we have gone through all the necessary processes,” said Gigi George, Managing Director, KGS Aranmula International Airport Ltd.

This company is implementing the Rs 2,000 crore green field airport in Pathanamthitta, which is about 50 km from Sabarimala Iyappa Temple and located in between Thiruvanathapuram and Kochi airports.

The project is being developed in 700 acres by the Chennai-based KGS group.

This group has interests in property development, paper mill and engineering, and is promoted by three people and a 15 per cent equity stake by Reliance Group.

The petitioners said that the company did not get ‘no objection certificate’ for the project, and that permissions were obtained by ‘misrepresentation’ of various facts. This was, however, denied by George.

“We have all the permissions in place. The State Government has also come on board,” he added.

George further said that about 50 acres of ‘Poramboke’ land has been transferred for the project by the State Government.