Political turbulence hits Kannur airport

CPI(M) Politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan kicked off the row by accusing the Congress-led UDF government of trying to reduce the runway length from 3,600 metres to 2,400 metres to commission the Greenfield airport before the Assembly polls early next year.

By T.K. Devasia

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Published: Wed 21 Oct 2015, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Wed 21 Oct 2015, 12:16 PM

Trivandrum: The Kannur International Airport has been caught in a political turmoil even as the airport company is racing against time to meet the December 31 deadline for the trial landing of flights.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) Politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan kicked off the row by accusing the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) government of trying to reduce the runway length from 3,600 metres to 2,400 metres to commission the Greenfield airport before the Assembly polls early next year.
Party's Mattanur legislator E P Jayarajan carried forward the campaign by holding a day-long fast at the construction site on Tuesday. Describing the government move to hurriedly commission the airport as a political stunt, he has demanded extension of the runway to 4,000 metres.
Party state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan backed his colleagues saying that the move to reduce the runway length was the result of certain lobbies working against the airport. Launching Jayarajan's fast, he alleged that the lobbies were trying to deny international airport status to the new airport.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has gone a step further saying that the Cochin airport lobby was behind the conspiracy against the airport. Party district president K Ranjith said that the original plan was to have 3,950-4,000 metre long runway. It was reduced at the instance of the vested interests, including the Cochin lobby, he alleged.
Ranjith said that the party would bring this to the attention of federal civil aviation minister and try to get the airport included in the six hub airports proposed by the Narendra Modi government. The BJP leader said that Kannur will be eligible for the hub status if it will have runway length of 4,000 metres.
news@khaleejtimes.com



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