While all stakeholders believe that the project benefits regions under the Chalakudy, Thrissur and Ernakulam Lok Sabha constituencies, it is currently viewed as an election promise of the left candidate.

D Dhanuraj, CPPR Chairman, comments on the news published in The New Indian Express

KOCHI: A question mark looms over the Aerocity project in Ayyampuzha near Nedumbassery, the brainchild of Chalakudy Lok Sabha candidate C Raveendranath of the CPM. The big question is ‘What will be the fate of the project – which benefits the entire region in terms of generation of new jobs, tourism and economic development – if Raveendranath’s opponent emerges winner in the constituency?’.

While all stakeholders believe that the project benefits regions under the Chalakudy, Thrissur and Ernakulam Lok Sabha constituencies, it is currently viewed as an election promise of the Left candidate.

Sitting Chalakudy MP Benny Behanan said he supports the project, but expressed his apprehension over its implementation.

“We already have the GIFT (Global Industrial Finance and Trade) City project–funded by Union and state governments–which has not made much progress over the years. During the election campaign, the LDF candidate promised such a project. However, there is no clarity on how to implement it. Who will be the investors? We can’t just imagine and propose a project. The practicality of implementing it needs to be studied,” Behanan said.

Aerocity is a significant development project envisioned near the Kochi airport, Raveendranath told TNIE.

“The concept is to integrate the airport and the local businesses into their surroundings. When we think about a city, the first image we get is of highrise buildings and malls. Whereas, this is a different one focused on developing a city and helping small and medium-scale businesses (especially those in traditional products and agricultural sectors) flourish near the airport with easy accessibility and visibility,” he said.

 Explaining the project, which is in the conceptual stage, Raveendranath said it is expected to bring substantial changes, impacting nearby regions including Angamaly, Kalady, Malayattoor, Thrissur, Kochi and Chalakudy. 

“The production of items with export potential in the area can bring down the cost of transportation. Products from sectors like agriculture, bamboo, coir, textiles, and pottery, which have global markets, can be exported from here. The area will also become a tourist shopping spot near the airport for Kerala-specific products. This will result in preserving traditional products, besides generating employment and revenue,” he said. He felt the launch of the international cargo terminal at the Kochi airport will also benefit the Aerocity proposal.

Meanwhile, the founder-chairman of the Centre for Public Policy Research, D Dhanuraj, said the Aerocity has huge capital expenditures.

“The Kerala government doesn’t have the capacity to achieve the scale in terms of exporting. After a point, it needs to bring in private capital. If the project proposes to export goods, the scale is huge. The fundamental question is do we have the scale? Another point is that Kerala doesn’t have enough land to set up such a project,” Dhanuraj said.

Instead of eyeing the manufacturing sector, the government should propose something in line with Dubai’s Education City, he said.

‘GIFT CITY’ in focus

The Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) allocated Rs 850 crore for land acquisition in February last year for the GIFT City project. The rise of Gift City will spur growth in Kochi’s Aerocity, aligning with the state government’s plans, Chalakudy Lok Sabha candidate C Raveendranath said.

Views expressed by the author are personal and need not reflect or represent the views of the Centre for Public Policy Research.

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