Works to begin for a 20-seater aircraft to land or to build a heli-port
Kushalnagar: Days after Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai mentioned at the World Economic Forum Summit in Davos that a mini-airport or a heliport will be constructed on a 49.5-acre Agricultural Department land adjacent to Sainik School, Kushalnagar (Koodige), a high-level team of officials and technical experts visited the land this morning.
The team was led by Managing Director of Karnataka State Industrial & Infrastructure Development Corporation (KSIIDC) Limited Dr. M.R. Ravi, Project Technical Advisor Brig. D.M. Purvimath (VSM), who is also the Chief Engineer of
Border Roads Organisation (BRO), KSIIDC Executive Director D.P. Prakash and other officers. MLA M.P. Appachu Ranjan was also present.
The land is located at Chikkathoor village and there are plans to either construct a mini airport where 20-seater aircraft can land or to construct a heli-port from where it can connect planned heli-ports in Mysuru, Hampi and Chikkamagalur.
Both the projects will give a new dimension to the Kodagu tourism. “Kodagu District features among the top 10 tourist destinations in India and if the air connectivity is ensured, there is scope for accommodating 20,000 to 50,000 tourists every weekend and this will include foreign tourists who come for circuit tours,” Dr. Ravi told reporters.
The KSIIDC is the nodal agency for the development of airstrips across Karnataka. The 950-metre or 1.5 km strip would have basic minimum facilities like the airstrip, terminal with security post, fencing and security by local Police, Dr. Ravi added and said that Rs. 100 crore to Rs. 120 crore would be needed to develop the land into a full-fledged airstrip or a heli-port.
Silt from Harangi Dam
Inspecting the land, Project Technical Advisor Brig. Purvimath said that the area is undulated and needs levelling. MLA Ranjan told the team that whatever silt that will be removed from the Harangi Dam in the coming months will be dumped in the airstrip. The entire area will be levelled with silt mud and this will solve the problem of lack of land to dump the silt from the Dam, he added.
Interacting with the district officials, Dr. Ravi said that for the work on the airstrip to begin, the land has to be transferred to the KSIIDC. The land is at present under the possession of the Agriculture Department and it must be transferred to the Revenue Department headed by the Kodagu Deputy Commissioner, who will initiate the transfer to the KSIIDC, he explained.
Work will begin soon after the land transfer, he added, directing the officials to complete the process. “A 50-acre flat land is not available anywhere in Kodagu that is a hilly terrain. This land is ideal for the airstrip and the heli-port and we will get it for sure. The budgetary needs will be fulfilled by the CM who has already assured help,” MLA Appachu Ranjan said.
“Dr. Ravi had served as the Kodagu Assistant Commissioner and it was his initiative to build the Kodagu District Offices Complex in Madikeri and now an airstrip is being constructed,” Ranjan added.
When reporters asked about the possible objection from environment activists to the airstrip, the MLA said that no one should have any objection as the airstrip will be built on Government land. “We have been trying for air connectivity to Kodagu since decades and only now things are taking shape. We will bring the airstrip at any cost,” he reiterated.