Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister has accused the Centre of stalling the development of the state-of-the-art airport at his home town Kannur saying permission has been denied for foreign carriers to operate from the airport.
He made the remark while speaking at a protest march against the Centre on Tuesday evening in front of the Governor's residence here.
Vijayan's attack was based on a question that his closest aide and journalist-turned Rajya Sabha member John Brittas had asked in the House.
In his reply, Union Minister Minister of State for Civil Aviation V.K. Singh had said that Vijayan had submitted a Memorandum to the Prime Minister on July 13, 2021 seeking permission for foreign carriers to operate out of Kannur International Airport.
"Kannur International Airport was commissioned in December 2018. Within a period of one year, by Winter 2019 schedule, Indian carriers were operating 65 international services per week from Kannur, before scheduled international commercial passenger services were suspended on account of COVID-19 pandemic".
"Currently, due to significant imbalance in the number of points of call in favour of foreign carriers, the Government of India is not granting any non-metro airport as a new point of call to any foreign carrier for the purpose of operating passenger services. However, Indian designated carriers are free to mount scheduled operations to/from any international airport including Kannur International Airport to foreign destinations under the ambit of bilateral air service agreements concluded by India with foreign countries," Singh had stated.
Vijayan said in a federal system of governance, sidelining states doesn't augur well for the democracy and this is happening when the Centre is stalling development of the Kannur Airport. This, he said, comes at a time when Kerala is trying to get its fifth airport to facilitate the easy pilgrimage to the temple town of Sabarimala.
"We will go forward with our Sabarimala airport plan," said Vijayan.