Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday welcomed the Civil Aviation Ministry's site clearance for a greenfield airport project at Kottayam and termed it as a "great news for spiritual tourism".
The Civil Aviation Ministry had on April 13 informed the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation Ltd (KSIDC) about the site clearance for the airport that would come up close to the famed Lord Ayyappa shrine at Sabarimala.
The ministry also asked the KSIDC to proceed with preparation of a Detailed Project Report (DPR) and to send that along with an application for grant of 'in-principle' approval to it for further necessary action.
Subsequently, the ministry tweeted: "After several rounds of engagement with the project proponent - KSIDC/Government of Kerala, MoCA has granted Site Clearance for a Greenfield Airport project at Kottayam (Sabarimala) which will enhance connectivity and development in the region."
"The Kottayam Greenfield Airport project is proposed to be developed on approx. 2250 acres of land, and the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) intends to undertake the project in a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model at an approx. cost of Rs. 4000 cr," the ministry said on Twitter.
Responding to the development, Modi tweeted, "Great news for tourism and especially spiritual tourism."
Last week, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had said the groundwork for building a new airport at Sabarimala has started after obtaining the necessary permissions.
"Process has been initiated to construct a new airport for Sabarimala. Necessary permissions for the same have been received," he had said.
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During the two-month annual pilgrimage season in November-December, lakhs of pilgrims arrive at the shrine from various parts of the country and also abroad.
In the 2022 season, the Travancore Devaswom Board had stated that nearly 30 lakh pilgrims visited the temple.
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