Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday entrusted a three-member high level official team the task of identifying land for the proposed Sabarimala airport to cater to lakhs of devotees who visit the famous Lord Ayyappa hill shrine every year. He asked Additional Chief Secretary (Revenue) P H Kurian, Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation Managing Director Dr M Beena and Pathanamthitta District Collector R Girija to identify the land for the airport. They have been asked to submit report within two weeks.
The project report would be prepared after finalising the land, an official statement from the Chief Minister’s office said in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday. Lakhs of Ayappa devotees visit the hill shrine during the three month long festival season from November-January every year.
The temple is situated in the mountain ranges of the Western Ghats in Pathanamthitta district. Erumely, located about 50 km from the hill shrine, is the proposed site for the airport.
The increase in number of pilgrims visiting the temple has gone up in recent years and the airport is the option to reduce traffic congestion during the festival season. The State government had in February 2016 accorded in principle sanction to construct the greenfield Sabarimala airport.