Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who met Civil Aviation Minister Anand Gajapathy Raju in New Delhi on Wednesday, announced the state government will go forward to build an airport near the famed Sabarimala temple.
“The temple is one where lakhs of pilgrims come and the need of an airport is a must. We met the Civil Aviation Minister and he said no objection certification will be given after we identify the land.
“The land has already been identified near Erumely and now once I am back in the state, the decision to go forward with the airport will be taken and we will inform the Centre,” Mr Vijayan told reporters.
Erumely is located about 45 km from the temple town in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district, which is around 100 km from Thiruvananthapuram. Pilgrims, who come by air have to touch down either at Kochi or the state capital and then reach the temple by road.
Situated in the mountain ranges of the Western Ghats at an altitude of 914 metres, Sabarimala temple is four kilometres uphill from Pamba in Pathanamthitta.
The temple, which bars the entry of women who have attained puberty, is accessible only on foot from Pamba.
The need for an airport came up for consideration following a remarkable increase in the number of visits from non-Keralites.
The total receipts of the temple during the last fiscal was close to Rs. 300 crore.