Kerala speeding towards building new Kannur airport

November 11th, 2008 - 7:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 11 (IANS) All arrangements are being put in place to hold a pre-bid conference to identify the partner to build the fourth international airport in the state at Kannur. Switching on the website here Tuesday, State Tourism and Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said that the land acquisition for the airport is going on smoothly and would be completed by Jan 30 next year.

“Right now various consultants for finalizing the technical, financial and legal bids have been advertised for and after finalizing the bidding terms and conditions, we will hold a pre-bid conference to identify the partner who will build the airport,” Balakrishnan told reporters here.

The new airport that has been on the cards for the past one decade was finally given the final nod by the central government early this year.

“The airport will be build on the model of private-public partnership with the state government holding 26 per cent stake and the rest with the partner which could be one company or a consortium of companies,” said Balakrishnan.

Former Civil Aviation secretary V. Thulasidas, who has been appointed the special officer for the Kannur Airport said the present model is different from the country’s first airport built with private-public partnership at Kochi in the late nineties.

“Even though the Kochi airport is a successful model where a lot of individual non-resident Keralite’s hold stakes, the present model that has been approved by the central government is the one that was used to build the new Bangalore and Hyderabad airports. So we decided to follow that,” said Thulasidas.

But Balakrishnan added that the website that is now open is one where anyone can put forward their ideas.

“We want people to interact with us and give us suggestions through the website so that we can consider all suggestions,” added Balakrishnan.

The proposed airport is to come up on a 2,000 acre plot of land of which nearly 1,200 acres has been acquired and for the rest discussions are going on with the land owners who will be evicted.

The other international airports in the state include the Kozhikode and the one here.

Kerala has a record two million non-resident Keralites working mostly in the middle-East and the Kannur airport would be a blessing for a large number of people in the northern most districts of the state.

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