The Kerala government's project to develop airstrips at Idukki and Wayanad, which ran into trouble earlier amid protests and environmental concerns, could be looking at a revival.
The Times of India reported that the Transport Department, in its latest order, has asked the Cochin International Airport Ltd (Cial) to conduct a pre-feasibility study for the two projects
"Before going on to the next step of a feasibility study, the government wants to know whether the projects deserve the go-ahead and so the pre-feasibility study was ordered," the report quoted government sources as saying.
The Kerala government had proposed to develop airstrips at several places in the state to enhance connectivity for chartered tourists and for the development of tourism. However, amid local protests, the projects failed to take off.
The Idukki airstrip was even scaled up to a medium-size airport project, but had to be shelved after strong protests during the previous United Democratic Front regime. The Wayanad project had got clearance from the Airports Authority of India, but could not move any further following intensified protests.
The proposal to build an airstrip in Anakkara also met a similar fate. An AAI team, which had visited the site, had given clearance for a facility over 500 acres. However, the government had to shelve the project after protests from anti-airport agitation council.
"We have great potential for tourism in the state. We need to develop airstrips at various tourist places so as to enable chartered flights to land," Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had earlier said.
Meanwhile, the CM informed the Assembly on Tuesday that the government was set to receive a feasibility study and environmental assessment reports of the proposed greenfield airport near Sabarimala before March 31.
"After obtaining the clearance and approval from various Central agencies and examining the report of the consultant, further steps will be taken regarding the proposed airport," he stated.