New Delhi: Kerala has received a favourable response from the Centre with regard to constructing an airport at Erumeli for Sabarimala pilgrims, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Wednesday.

Talking to media persons here, Pinarayi said he had spoken to Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju regarding the state’s demand and he had agreed to provide sanction once the state government identifies land.

Pinarayi said the state government has identified land for the proposed airport and will officially inform the matter to the Centre. More discussions will be carried out in Kerala with regard to the land, he added.

Pinarayi said he has also expressed the state’s desire to have an airstrip at Idukki and Bakel for tourists.  

After the Centre rejected sanction for EIA study for the Aranmula airport, the state government had mooted the idea of another airport. Plantations at Laha, Perunadu, Erumeli, Kumbazha and Kalleli, the lease period of which had expired, will be used to build the airport.  

The government also hopes that the environmental impact will be low at the new site compared to the earlier location at Aranmula. There will be no need to evacuate people to acquire land if the airport is coming up at this location.