Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has said that acquisition of land for developing major access roads to the proposed Kannur International Airport near Mattannur will be done with the cooperation of all political parties and organisations to tide over local-level opposition to the proposed road development works.
Addressing a meeting of the Kannur Airport Action Committee here on Saturday, the Minister, who is also its chairman, said the likelihood of local opposition to acquisition of land for development of six access roads, including the Kannur-Mattannur road, could be overcome if land could be acquired on the basis of negotiations as had been done for acquiring land for the airport, he said.
An agency had been entrusted to study the proposed road development projects. The access roads proposed to be developed as part of the infrastructure development required for the airport are Kannur-Mattannur, Thalassery-Mattannur, Wayanad-Mattannur, Nadapuram-Thalassery, Anjarakkandy-Mattannur and Kasaragod-Mattannur.
Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan would lay the foundation stone for the airport at 11 a.m. on December 17, he said adding that Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel would preside over the function. Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy, Minister of State for Home Mullappally Ramachandran and Minister of State for Railways E. Ahamed would also participate in the function, he said.
Acknowledging the support of all political parties and organisations for their active involvement in the efforts to make the project a reality, Mr. Balakrishnan remembered Defence Minister A.K. Antony's intervention that helped the airport project secure the Central approval.
An extent of 1,578 acres of land had already been acquired through Kinfra and the remaining 783 acres would be acquired on a fast track basis, he told the meeting. The acquisition procedure would be completed by January next year. Rehabilitation of 122 families displaced from the acquired land was also under way.
He said the State government would have control over 51 per cent of the share in Kannur International Airport Limited (KIAL) floated with an authorised capital of Rs.1,000 crore. Of this, 26 per cent of the equity would be with the government. The value of the land totalling 26 per cent of the authorised capital would be converted into the government's equity. The land exceeding that value would be given on lease to the company, he said. He said that 23 per cent of the equity would be with the public sector undertaking and two per cent with Infrastructure Kerala Ltd. (Inkel).
The remaining 49 per cent of the equity would be with private individuals and institutions, he said. Three entrepreneurs had approached the government expressing their willingness to have 26 per cent of the equity each, he disclosed. The government, however, had taken a decision to allocate 16 per cent of the shares to each of them. The remaining shares would be mobilised from local entrepreneurs and individuals, he said.
The Minister said global tenders had been invited for selecting a consultancy to start the process of constructing the runway. To ensure that there was no encroachment on the acquired land, a perimeter wall would be constructed, he said. It would take minimum two years to complete the airport project, he said. The Minister also disclosed that he had met the Railway Board Chairman and spoke to Mr. Ahamed on the proposal for a railway track to the airport to be later linked to the proposed Thalassery-Mysore railway line.
K. Sudhakaran, MP; A.P. Abdullakutty and K.K. Shylaja, MLAs; Kannur airport special officer V. Thulasidas; and action committee convener P.V.K. Nambiar; were present at the meeting.