Safety around airport still a major concern

DGCA has submitted a list of 427 obstacles around the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.

Mumbai: The question of aircraft and passenger safety has been a topic of hot debate in the Bombay high court as the DGCA and the AAI have been passing the buck to each other for allowing buildings to come up in the no-fly zone funnel area. While the DGCA has submitted a list of 427 obstacles around the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) to the court and assured that they would be taking steps to remove them, people living around the airport are up in arms as it implies that a part of their homes, which they have occupied for more than 50 years may get demolished.

According to advocate Yashwant Shenoy whose 2014 petition in the Bombay high court resulted in a flurry of orders directing the authorities including the DGCA, AAI, MIAL and the Civil Aviation ministry to take cognisance of the aspersions of the petitioner, there was little progress to fix the responsibility for the glaring lapses in safety measures, which had come about due to the connivance of the authorities. “Even though there was a demand for a safety audit of the funnel area, the DGCA had been delaying the same which the court took cognisance. Only after that did the authorities come out with the list of obstacles within a 20 km radius of the airport,” said Mr Shenoy.

However, since many existing structures with proper documents also feature in the list of obstacles, the affected persons have decided to appeal to the DGCA and have sought clarity on why their buildings were not an obstruction till now but have suddenly become one. Despite efforts by the DGCA to get the area around the airport cleared, slums on the eastern end still poses a threat to flights while landing and taking off as the garbage generated by them attracts birds.

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