The Kerala cabinet on Wednesday gave its nod for construction of an airport at Cheruvally rubber estate, about 48 km from the famed Sabarimala temple.
The estate in Kottayam district belongs to the Thiruvalla-headquartered Believers Church, but the state government has staked claim to it. The issue is currently pending in the Kerala High Court.
The site for the much-talked about and long-delayed Sabarimala airport was identified by a state government committee.
The cabinet accepted the proposal of the committee, led by Revenue Secretary P.H. Kurian, which has zeroed in on the 2,263 acre estate, a statement from Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's office said.
Last year, the Vijayan government got the informal sanction from Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju to build an airport near Sabarimala temple. The Minister assured Vijayan that a preliminary no-objection certificate for the airport would be given once the land for the project was identified.
For long there has been a demand for an airport to serve the Sabarimala pilgrims. During the previous Oommen Chandy government, a proposal by a private player to build an airport at Aranmula in Pathanamthitta district had got entangled in various issues.
After the Vijayan government assumed office in May last year, it revoked the earlier sanction for Aranmula airport and began to look for another land in the same district.