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SIA report for Sabarimala airport recommends rehabilitation of project affected persons

The final social impact assessment (SIA) report for the proposed Sabarimala greenfield international airport at Erumely has highlighted the need for a special package to support the individuals and families who have relied on Cheruvally Estate for their livelihoods for generations. The report acknowledges the concerns raised about the potential widespread loss of livelihoods in the area.

After conducting a public hearing on the draft SIA report, the final report has been prepared and includes recommendations to address the worries expressed by the local residents living near the project area. The hearing brought up various issues, with a significant focus on the rehabilitation of workers and staff at the estate, which is the main area affected by the project.

The project is expected to directly impact 579 families, including 358 families who do not reside on the estate. Additionally, individuals who own and operate businesses in the area will also be affected by the project, potentially losing their means of support. The land acquisition for the project will impact 149 concrete buildings, 74 sheet-roofed structures, and 30 tile-roofed structures.

To study the final SIA report, the State government has established an expert group consisting of representatives from local organizations, socio-technical experts, and rehabilitation specialists. The committee, led by M.V. Bijulal, an assistant professor in the School of International Relations and Politics at Mahatma Gandhi University, comprises seven members. As per Sections 7 (4) to 7 (6) of the LRR Act, the committee will assess the SIA report and provide its recommendations within a two-month timeframe.

The authorities are planning to acquire a total of 2,570 acres (1039.876 hectares) of land in the villages of Erumely South and Manimala in the Kanjirappally taluk for the construction and development of the airport. This includes an additional 307 acres that are not part of the Cheruvally estate.

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