Kerala to have 10 percent sweat equity in private airport

Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 23 (IANS) KGS Aranmula International Airport Ltd., which is developing the country's first private airport at Aranmula, will give 10 per cent sweat equity to the Kerala government and also the chairman's post, an official said.

Speaking to reporters here Saturday evening, Gigi George, managing director of the proposed Rs.2,000 crore airport project said the decision to hand over 10 per cent equity and the post of chairman shows the company's transparency.

"The construction of the airport will begin in January 2013 and we expect to complete it in under two years time. Once completed, about 1,000 passengers can use the airport at a time," said George.

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) accorded project clearance in September for the airport which is coming up in 500 acres in Pathanamthitta district, 110 km from here.

Incidentally, this airport project has its share of controversies with regard to the site of the project area. The green signal for this project was given by the Left government headed by V.S. Achuthanandan (2006-11).

However, Achuthanandan has now joined the local protesters, who allege that this airport is going to come up in an area where only agricultural activities could take place.

Achuthanandan told a public meeting at Aranmula last month that the officials misled him.

"I will show you the particular file relating to the Aranmula airport where Achuthanandan has put his signature in at least five places," remarked Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

This airport is expected to be a major boost to the famed Sabarimala pilgrimage, as the Sabarimala temple is 30 km from the airport.


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