70 Mumbai Buildings Ordered To Cut Height To Ensure Safe Flight Path

Mumbai airport is situated right in the middle of the city surrounded by several middle-class housing colonies and slums, several of which are now obstacles especially when the secondary runway is in operation.

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70 Mumbai Buildings Ordered To Cut Height To Ensure Safe Flight Path

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The action comes after Bombay Court order asked aviation regulator to act while hearing PIL on the issue.

Mumbai:  To ensure safe flight operations in and out of Mumbai Airport, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation or DGCA has sent notices to around 70 structures in the city to demolish part of their buildings. Residents of several societies in Mumbai's Vile Parle and Santa Cruz are suddenly facing the threat of their homes being partially demolished. But more residents may receive similar notices, said the lawyer who filed the Public Interest Litigation or PIL, adding, he is going to take this to the logical end.

The action comes after a Bombay High Court order asked the DGCA to act while hearing a PIL on the issue. "Seventy seems to be a big number but seventy is not the figure. These seventy buildings are off the first phase of a 2010-2011 survey in which 137 buildings were pointed out. Thereafter the airports authority has produced a list of about 470 buildings of 2015-2016 survey and unfortunately these buildings are only in the approach surface," Advocate Yashwant Shenoy told NDTV.

"There are other obstacles on the inner horizontal surface and conical surface and I believe there would be not less than 8,000 such structures around Mumbai Airport. I will take it to the logical end to ensure that these obstacles are either demolished or the airport is declared unfit for international operations," Mr Shenoy added.

Meanwhile, residents who been living in this buildings for 50- 60 years were aghast. The authorities think the planes are too close for comfort and after 60 years these buildings have been asked to get shorter, some by up to 2 storeys.

Rakesh Waghela, who is second generation owner of a flat in a building in Santa Cruz who has got a notice said, "After so many years if someone comes with a notice suddenly that your building is illegal or has height issues anyone will get shocked."

"I stay here since 1971. When we measured the height with tape the height was matching the permission given by authorities. Then where is the deviation? How can they say we have exceeded the height by 2.8 metres?" asks Ajit Ajgaonkar, who has been living in a building in the area for the last 60 years.

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Mumbai airport is situated right in the middle of the city surrounded by several middle-class housing colonies and slums, several of which are now obstacles especially when the secondary runway is in operation. Experts say this is an issue that should have been dealt with years ago. "The issue of obstruction near the runway is a very old and no opinion on the subject is required because these regulations are governed by ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) annexures which are regulated by the international body and India is a signatory to ICAO. Therefore it is mandatory for India to follow these regulations," said Captain MR Wadia.

Residents say their letters to the DGCA have not been answered so they are considering fighting for their rights even if it means going to court themselves.

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