Kerala HC stays land acquisition notification with regard to Sabarimala airport

The Kerala High Court on Thursday put on hold a state government notification regarding acquisition of land for the construction of the Sabarimala Greenfield airport in Kottayam district.
Kerala HC
Kerala HC
Sabarimala Greenfield Airport place
Sabarimala Greenfield Airport place

Kochi | The Kerala High Court on Thursday put on hold a state government notification regarding acquisition of land for the construction of the Sabarimala Greenfield airport in Kottayam district.

Justice Viju Abraham passed the interim order on a plea by a charitable trust and its managing trustee challenging the land acquisition notification.

Advocate Rishikesh Haridas who appeared for the trust confirmed the contents of the court order.

The Ayana Charitable Trust and its managing trustee Siny Punnoose in their joint petition have alleged that the land acquisition process was aimed at illegally taking over their property -- a rubber plantation measuring around 2,263 acres.

The trust, also represented by senior advocate Amit Sibal and advocate Dhiraj Philip, has claimed that the state government has been attempting to "grab its property" ever since it acquired the land in 2005.

In its plea, the trust also cited various Kerala High Court orders by which actions initiated by the government to allegedly grab its land were struck down.

The state government had earlier said that the Sabarimala Greenfield airport will make it convenient for pilgrims coming from other states to reach the hill-top shrine of Lord Ayyappa in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala. It said that having an airport there would also promote tourism and boost the economy.

Besides that, it would also help people of the area travel across the world from there once the airport comes up, the government had said.

The Centre has granted the site and defence clearance for the Sabarimala Greenfield Airport project which is being developed on land in Erumeli South and Manimala villages in Kottayam district.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had told the state Assembly in February that the application for security clearance for the project is under consideration of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

He had also said that an environmental impact study has been done and a seven-member expert committee, appointed to review the final Social Impact Assessment (SIA) study report prepared by the Centre for Management Development (CMD), has submitted its recommendations on the project.

Based on the committee's recommendations, the process of acquiring around 2,570 acres of land for the construction of the airport has been initiated, he had said.

The petitioners, in their plea, have sought quashing of the appointment of the CMD to carry out the SIA study, its report, the expert committee's recommendations, the sanction granted to proceed with acquisition and the land acquisition notification

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