CPI MP Binoy Viswam on Wednesday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to convene a meeting to discuss the development of Calicut International Airport in Kerala's Kozhikode so that bigger aircraft can land there for carrying Haj pilgrims.
In a letter to the prime minister, the Rajya Sabha member referred to a recent decision by the Saudi Arabian government to increase the Hajj pilgrim quota for Indian citizens, adding that Kozhikode has been approved as one of the departure points. "But, it is doubtful whether the authorities are careful enough to prepare the facilities at the Karipur airport in Kozhikode. The runway extension work at Karipur airport is still going on at a snail's pace. Only after it is completed can larger aircraft operate from there," he said.
"Otherwise, as many small planes as necessary are needed to take off from there," he added. An Air India Express flight had overran the tabletop runway at the airport on August 7, 2020, killing 21 people. Following the incident, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had banned wide-body aircraft like the Boeing 747 and Airbus A350 to land at the airport, and a runway renovation is in progress.
The Left leader further said only if various ministries and agencies move in unison, the work can be completed before June, when the Haj pilgrimage starts. "Therefore, it would only be appropriate to convene a meeting of the Ministries related to Haj under your chairmanship as soon as possible. In the said meeting, Karipur airport development needs to be given due importance as well. These matters have been requested to be brought to your immediate attention," he noted in the letter. The Calicut International Airport, also known as Kozhikode Airport or Karipur Airport, is an international airport located in Malappuram district of Kerala. It serves the Malabar region of Kozhikode, Malappuram, Wayanad and Palakkad.