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Gujarat HC to Surat Municipal Corporation: What's being done about buildings around airport

Surat Airport is the second busiest airport in the state, which is handling around 260 flights every week and catered to the travel needs of 6.81 lakh passengers during the financial year 2017-18.

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The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday sought a reply from the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) on the steps taken by the latter to solve the issue of high-rise buildings adjacent to the airport, which pose a threat to the safe landing and take-off of flights. The division bench of Acting Chief Justice AS Dave and JusticeBiren Vaishnav also directed the municipal corporation to provide details of the course of action it had adopted pursuant to the service of demolition notices to the high-rises in August 2018.

Notably, the division bench, while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Vishwas Bhamburkar through advocate KR Koshti, had earlier directed both the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and SMC to file their reply in this regard by April 29. However, so far none of them had filed its reply. Now, the court has directed AAI as well as SMC to file their reply in the matter by June 14.

Bhamburkar had earlier informed the court that SMC had already carried out a survey identifying 90 obstructions which pose a safety risk to smooth flight operations at Surat Airport. Majority of these obstructions are residential buildings in-and-around the airport which defy the height norms applicable on buildings adjacent to airports. The petitioner had contended that these buildings have already been served with demolition notices in August 2018, but SMC, thereafter, had turned silent on the issue and failed to initiate any action. He had also argued that the authorities also failed to install anti-collision lights atop the buildings around the airport.

He also claimed that no information has been issued by airport authority to persons involved in flight operations at the airport about the obstacles in the path of flights landing and taking off from the airport. He submitted before the bench that it was the lackadaisical approach of the authorities in question that forced him to knock the doors of the High Court.

Surat Airport is the second busiest airport in the state, which is handling around 260 flights every week and catered to the travel needs of 6.81 lakh passengers during the financial year 2017-18.

Inaction

According to a PIL, the high-rises around airport have already been served with demolition notices in August 2018, but SMC, thereafter, failed to initiate any action. It also stated that the authorities failed to install anti-collision lights atop the buildings around the airport

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