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Tribunal grants interim stay on Aranmula airport project

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The National Green Tribunal today granted an interim stay on contruction of Aranmula airport project in and also an injunction restraining a private firm from undertaking any activity on it.

The Southern Bench of the NGT, comprising of Justice M Chockalingam and R Nagendran, also stayed the Kerala government's notification according permission to convert 500 acres of wetland for industrial purposes in Pathanamthitta district.

It also restrained other connected activities of K G S Aranmula International Airport Ltd which has got the land for construction of Greenfield Airport near Sabarimala until further orders.

The Bench passed the order after admitting an application by Aranmula Heritage Village Protection Action Council seeking to set aside the Kerala government order, saying that the project is detrimental to ecology and environment.

The state government had granted in-principal sanction for the proposed airport in 2010 and issued a notification the next year.

The petitioner submitted that allowing construction of the private airport was in violation of provisions of the Kerala Conservation of Paddy and WetLand Act, 2008 and other laws.

The petitioner also submitted that if the private firm was allowed to build the airport, it could result in diversion of the water course which runs through the Pampa river.

After hearing the submission of the counsel for petitioner, the tribunal observed that it was satisfied with the petitioner's contention and found prima facie case for grant of interim stay.

The bench posted the matter for further hearing on April 30 and also ordered issue of notices to the Union Government and Kerala government.

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