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Aranmula greenfield Airport (AGA) project, Kerala, India

In 2016, the Aranmula airport was scrapped after local villagers as well as representatives from the temple protested against it, and the project was unable to get environmental clearances even after multiple tries.


Aranmula is a village situated in the Pathanamthitta district of kerala. The village is known for its ancient Krishna temple and handicrafts and quite close to famous ‘Sabarimala Temple’. Government had in 2011 announced the plan for an airport, named Aranmula greenfield Airport (AGA). The project, costs about Rs 2,000 crore and will be built by Chennai-based KGS Aranmula international Airport Ltd[1].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Aranmula greenfield Airport (AGA) project, Kerala, India
State or province:Kerala
Location of conflict:Aranmula
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Ports and airport projects
Specific commodities:Pilgrimage
Tourism services
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The airport is being built at a cost of Rs.2,000 crore, about 110 km from the state capital on 500 acres of land.

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Project area:283.28
Level of Investment for the conflictive project323,000,000
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:2011
End of the conflict:11/2016
Company names or state enterprises:KGS group from India
Aranmula Aviation Ltd from India
Relevant government actors:Union Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Home Affairs, Kerala Government
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Aranmula Paithruka Grama Karma Samithi, Communist Party of India (Marxists), People’s Action Council
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Religious groups
Sugathakumari, poet, who hails from Aranmula, joined the agitation and various socio-political and religious leaders aligned with her to launch a mass movement under the banner of the Joint Action Council. V.M. Sudheeran, T.N. Prathapan, V.T. Balaram, Peelipose Thomas and K.K. Royson, Congress leaders, backed the public agitation.
Philipose Mar Chrysostum, senior Metropolitan of Mar Thoma Church, Ms. Patkar, and V.R. Krishna Iyer, eminent jurist, backed Sugathakumari’s crusade.

The Ecological Concerns Department of the Church of South India launched a campaign of its own against the project. Geevarghese Mar Coorilos Metropolitan of the Jacobite Syrian Church and Swami Golokananda of Sri Ramakrishna Ashram were among those who opposed the project, which require reclamation of paddy fields and razing of hills.
Pinarayi Vijayan, V.S. Achuthanandan, Panniyan Raveendran, Mullakkara Ratnakaran, N.K. Premachandran and Benoy Viswom, Left Democratic Front leaders, and V. Muralidharan, BJP State president, addressed various public meetings in protest against the airport project at Aranmula during the past one year.
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Hunger strikes and self immolation
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
New legislation
Strengthening of participation
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Project cancelled
Withdrawal of company/investment
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:In 2016, the State government of Kerala scrapped the project, after both the National Green Tribunal didn´t provide clearance and the Ministry of Defence withdrew the No Objection certificate.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

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The Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill, 2007

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[1] Green Lights But No Green Norms For Aranmula
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[2] We will build Aranmula airport, says Kerala CM
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[3] LDF walkout over Aranmula airport issue
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[4] Protest mounting against Aranmula airport project
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[5] National Green Tribunal order against the construction of the airport
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[6] The government orders the cancellation of the Aranmula airport project
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[7] Government ordered feasibility study for a new airport after Aranmula was scrapped.
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[8] New airport to come up in Sabarimala close to Aranmula
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[9] New airport worth Rs. 2500 crore to come up in Sabarimala replacing Aranmula
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Protests mount against Aranmula airport plan
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HC stays construction work at Aranmula airport
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Kerala: Govt to go ahead with Aranmula airport
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Protest continue against Keralas fifth airport
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Congress MLA manhandled by RSS workers
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No To Aranmula International Airport
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An appeal to support the protest against Aranmula Airport project
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Village Action Council vows to disrupt Aranmula airport work
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Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Aranmula airport controversy - Big Story [Reporter HD](In Malayalam)
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Facts About Aranmula International Airport by Aam Aadmi Party (In Malayalam)
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Aranmula cpim protesters [Reporter HD] (In Malayalam)
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Meta information
Contributor:Swapan Kumar Patra and Brototi Roy
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:947
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