India: Court orders demolition of high-rise buildings near Mumbai Airport

Petitioner flags concerns over danger posed to aircraft by these structures


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Published: Fri 29 Jul 2022, 10:09 PM

The Bombay High Court on Friday asked the Mumbai Suburban District Collector to demolish 48 high-rise buildings near the Mumbai International Airport over violation of height norms.

The high court was hearing public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Yashwant Shenoy raising concerns over the dangers posed by high-rises near the Mumbai airport.

The Petitioner Yeshwanth Shenoy, who is an advocate, claimed that he has worked extensively on aviation safety issues.

He apprised the court that both the Aerodrome Operator and the DGCA had filed affidavits stating that there are over 400 obstacles in the approach area which is a zero obstacle zone. According to the petition, the Aircraft (Demolition of obstructions caused by Buildings and Trees etc) Rules, 1994 requires the demolition of 'obstacles' to ensure Aviation Safety.

The petition sought strict compliance with these rules to ensure that the lives of people in the vicinity of Mumbai Airport are not endangered.

"In addition, it is the duty of the Aerodrome Operator to do a periodic 'obstacle survey. In addition to the approach area, the 20 km radius of an airport is a restricted zone and the Aerodrome Operator has to do a survey and is duty bound to remove all obstacles in accordance with the Rules," the petition said.

The petitioner sought strict compliance with these Rules because their violation directly endangers thousands of lives of people in the vicinity of the Mumbai Airport. "Any aircraft impacting any of these illegal structures can cause a catastrophe and the Ghatkoper crash is just a reminder as to how things could go wrong and how it could impact our lives," the petition said.

Therefore the petitioner has sought to direct the Airport Authority of India, Directorate General of Civil Aviation and Mumbai International Airport Limited to comply with the provisions of the Aircraft (Demolition of obstructions caused by Buildings and Trees etc.) Rules, 1994 and ensure demolition of all the 'obstacles' identified in accordance with these Rules.

The petition also sought to issue direction to concerned authorities Direct to conduct an obstacle study for the CSI Airport and the proposed Navi Mumbai Airport and to produce that list of obstacles in the court.

It also sought from the court that during the Pendency of this Petition, it may direct the DGCA to take the assistance of the District Collector in accordance with the Aircraft (Demolition of obstructions caused by Buildings and Trees etc.) Rules, 1994 in all cases where the final orders of demolition were passed and directed concerned respondents to implement the 'mitigating measure' recommended by them.

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