After waiting for a decade, the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) will have to kiss goodbye its ambitious plan for a helipad atop one of its buildings.
In 2007, the ministry of health and family welfare had proposed setting up a helipad on AIIMS' trauma centre building to promote medical tourism and to facilitate landing of air ambulance. However, the autonomous medical institution has failed to procure any of the multiple clearances, including from the aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). "We had tried to look for a consultant who could get us all the required clearances from different civic authorities," said AIIMS director Dr MC Mishra.
Speaking on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to media, a DGCA official said: "Till date we have not received any request from the hospital for conducting any inspection."
About a year and a half ago, AIIMS authorities had asked a consultant from Pawan Hans Helicopters to look into the required checks before approaching DGCA. "For any helicopter to be used as an air ambulance, a helipad of minimum 25 meters in length is required. AIIMS' building did not have the provision of putting a 25-meter long pad," an employee of Pawan Hans Helicopters told dna on condition on anonymity.
Besdies, the helipad's proposed site also falls in Delhi Indira Gandhi International airport's 'funnel zone' -- a flight path used by aircraft to take-off and to land, making it impossible to get a clearance from the Airports Authority of India. "The landing and take off zone of the existing site is on the funnel zone of two runways of the Delhi airport. As a result, a helipad would prove to be an obstruction for aircraft flying into the Delhi airport," explained the Pawan Hans employee.
To make the helipad operational, AIIMS will require other clearances, from civic authorities and local residents' associations. However, having realised that getting a helipad on the existing trauma centre building is not going to be an easy task, the hospital now has a new plan: it is hoping to build a helipad on a proposed trauma centre extension bulding. "We are hoping that we will be able to meet the required norms for the other helipad," said AIIMS' Dr Mishra.