Hill-top airstrips proposed to boost tourism, connectivity

Engineer says it can be alternative to railwayline, road network

A project management qualified engineer has proposed hill-top airstrips in Kerala as an alternative to railwayline and road network.

Speaking to DH, Jose Kochikunnel from Kasargod said the proposals are under consideration by the Kerala State government.

The government has also made budgetary allocations for the airstrips as well. The proposed airstrips from Kasargod to Kottayam are at Rajapuram, Wayanad, Malampuzha, Munnar, Kidangoor and Sabarimala. This air passage service and its airstrip may be routed and constructed over hil tops at eastern terrain of Kerala.

Jose said, “Widening of the highway and easing vehicular movement in Malnad region is a difficult task. Apart from this, agricultural land and commercial complexes have to be acquired for widening the road. As an alternative, airstrips can be constructed on the hill-top to promote domestic as well as international tourists.”

“After the construction, the airstrips can provide link to Mangaluru, Kannur, Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi International airports as well,” he felt.

The airstrips will enhance connectivity for the chartered tourists and the development of tourism in the state.

“We have great potential for tourism in Kerala state. We need to develop airstrips at various tourist spots to enable chartered flights to land,” he said.

“The airstrips will attract tourists to the state. Moreover, corporate companies can also join hands in tourism promotion. Even the government can also start chartered flights from Kasargod to Kottayam as one needs to travel 12 hours in trains while it will take
just one hour in air route,” he said. 

Jose said as the hill-top airstrips can be developed on hilly regions. They do not need land acquisition unlike the construction of airports. They require only 50 acres to 100 acres of land. Revenue land is available at hill top or nearby such hilly areas where no environmental clearance is required. Even the buildings at the airstrips can be constructed on pre fab technology at a faster rate, he explained.

He said the airstrip and chartered flights will be beneficial for devotees and tourists who wish to visit Talacauvery in Madikeri, Madhur temple, Mallik Dinar Mosque in Kasargod, Anandashrama in Kanhahgad, Guruvayoor temple, St Thomas Church at Malayatoor, Kottiyoor temple, St Alphonsa Shrine in Pala, Sabarimala, Shivagiri Mutt, Ranipura, Athirappilly Falls, Munnar, Kumarakam, Thekadi and Kovalam.

Jose said the airstrips will be highly beneficial for NRIs, high-profile professionals, Naval Academy at Ezhimala, industrialists, and those hospitals to shift patients in emergency condition to other superspeciality hospitals within a short time to save life.

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