Blame game begins over high rise buildings near city airport 

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 02 Jul 2018 10:01:12


Staff Reporter,

NMC blames AAI for permitting tall constructions in funnel area

MIL squarely blames NMC for not demolishing the buildings

Fate of 10 buildings in Bhamti, Hingna, Jaitala in limbo

Out of the 10 tall buildings constructed near Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport, on which MIHAN India Limited (MIL) raised objections, now it has come to fore that the No Objection Certificates to four buildings were issued by Airport Authority of India (AAI). Entire episode of allowing high-rise and thus putting flight safety in jeopardy has revealed the cross-purpose at which government agencies work. Eventually rights of hapless people will be trampled by the authorities to hide their faux paus.

With MIL seeking curtailment of runway to ensure flight safety, the blame game has already and every agency is passing the buck to others for this mess. Interestingly, nobody including MIL, planning authority or other administrative agencies noticed the discrepancy or existence of such high-rise during funnel area for five long years.

Nagpur Municipal Corporation is trying to get away from its responsibility by claiming that it is not the authority to certify Above Mean Sea Level (AMSL). Though, technically the civic body is right, but it can absolve itself from the responsibility since buildings plans are sanctioned by it and it is duty of NMC to visit, inspect and supervise construction right from plinth level as per High Court’s directives.

A building on Hingna road got approval with a permissible AMSL height of 340.291 mts. Accordingly, Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) gave its nod to it. It started construction and probably MIL noticed that the building had 11.38 meters obstacle height. There are four such buildings which got NOC from AAI for the prescribed height. Later on for the same heights AAI and MIL raised objections and lodged complaints with NMC. When ‘The Hitavada’ tried to know the reason from highly placed sources, most of them said that probably AAI or MIL might have done inspected height using air mapping method due to which they have found the height of the building objectionable and a potential safety threat to flights.

However, the NMC officials clearly stated that they had very limited role after NoC is was issued by Airports Authority of India and it was wrong to blame them for the buildings so constructed wherein hundreds have already shifted. Even if AAI or MIL finds fault after the construction of building, the NMC will not be in a position to demolish it.

While talking to ‘The Hitavada’ on this issue, Ashwin Mudgal, the then Municipal Commissioner (now District Collector) claimed that during his tenure he had already responded to MIL on the issue of request of demolition the building ‘Renuka Enclave’ situated on Hingna Road. Madhav Deshpande of Messers Keshav Nivara that constructed Renuka Enclave got the NOC from MIL in 2011. AAI issues NOC on the basis of which NMC grants permission taking other things into account. But MIL raised objection on its height in 2016, almost after five years. MIL pointed out that the developer had mislead them by showing wrong AMSL certificate on the basis of which it got NOC. NMC told MIL that technically it (NMC) is not the authority to certify AMSL. NMC had informed Renuka Enclave that its height would obstruct the flight approach funnel of the airport runway. Accordingly Deshpande had clarified the same to MIL.

NMC’s reply further pointed out that if any part of any construction is obstructing the flight approach funnel then under ‘The Aircraft (Demolition of obstructions caused by Buildings and Trees etc.) Rules, 1994’ Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) can ask developer to demolish the objectionable part.

There are six constructions which did not get NOC from AAI. How NMC granted them permission to go ahead without seeing AAI’s NOC is the big question. When it was brought to the notice of Mudgal, he said that such buildings that did not get NOC must be illegal. But million dollar question is, as to how these illegal constructions were allowed to take place so close to airport funnel area in the first place and why timely intervention was not ordered by either NMC and MIL.

The height obstruction is making pilots of the aircraft everytime hear Ground Proximity Warning leading to confusion during flying. The pilots are experiencing it since long, admitted V M Mulekar, Sr Airport Director of MIL. In that case why the delay in taking measures late ? This non-application of mind by the authorities in sanctioning high rise buildings near funnel area of Airport has now emerged as biggest threat to its growth and very survival as an important airport.