Kerala Kaumudi Online
Thursday, 23 March 2023 10.35 PM IST

Don’t wait for another disaster


Karipur Airport, which was built by cutting and shaping a big hill, is a nightmare for pilots flying an airplane during bad weather. The airport can be made safe easily by extending the length of the runway. Two years back a plane skid off from the runway and fell into a ditch causing many deaths. It was agreed to develop the runway and make it safer. However, no action has been still taken even when the third anniversary of the disaster is approaching.

The attitude of thinking about safety measures when disaster strikes and after that forgetting about it is also been shown in the development of Karipur Airport also. The state government and the officials of the central aviation ministry must show more responsibility to the passengers travelling to Karipur.

The state government is not even allowing the funds to begin preliminary works. The acquisition of land for the development of the runway is the state subject. It is estimated that for the development of the runway 14.5 acres of land is needed. The Aviation Department had demanded 18.5 acres. As the land that has to be acquired consists of many houses, roads, and crematorium, it was reduced to 14.5 acres. The land is needed to increase develop both the sides of the runway and increase the safety region.

The estimated cost for the development is Rs.165 crores. The Airport Authority of India (AAI) will pay Rs.100 crores. The rest must be given by the state government. The primary works for land acquisition will cost only Rs.50 lakhs. The state government is not ready to pay even that much money. In short, the pilots’ nightmare will continue.

After the plane accident in 2020, big airliners are not allowed to land at Karipur. Only after developing the runway and increasing its safety will permission be granted for big airliners to land there. The amount Rs.165 crores is not a big amount for the central government or the state government. The safety of the passengers is of utmost importance.

The state government’s reluctance to give Rs.50 crores to begin preliminary works of land acquisition might be because after it is done then a big amount must be spent for land acquisition. Action must be taken to acquire land by next March.

The state and center must not quarrel in the name of payment of the Karipur runway development. We must learn from how development projects are taken in other places. In Hyderabad, the foundation stone for the Metro project to the airport was laid yesterday. The Telangana government will pay for the 31 km long first phase of the project. They are not waiting for the Central Government because they want their city travel more fast and smooth. Once the project is over it won’t take even thirty minutes to reach the airport from the busy city of Hyderabad. If there is a long-term vision and will power projects like this can be done by any state.

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