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Bombay High Court demands demolishing of illegal structures near city airport

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked the Airport Authority of India (AAI) and other town planning authorities to be “ruthless” and demolish over 100 “obstacles” (buildings, trees, antennas, etc) built in violation of the height norms, posing a threat to the landing and take-off of aircraft.

The direction came from a division bench of Justice Vidyasagar Kanade and Justice Chandrakant Bhadang while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) highlighting the flagrant violation of building rules around the city’s airports.

While passing the order, Justice Kanade said, “You (authorities) must deal with these violators ruthlessly, considering the fact that these obstacles pose a major security threat. These structures even obstruct the path of the flight. You cannot sit on this issue and wait for an accident to take place.”

“There is no point of feeling bad for builders or the residents or occupants of these structures. You will have to demolish them within two months,” Justice Kanade added.

The order comes after the bench was informed that Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) had conducted a survey in 2010-11 and had described these 100-odd structures as obstacles. The bench was also informed that though the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had issued notices to the owners and residents of these buildings, nothing was done to either demolish the structures or reduce their heights.

In such a situation, the court on Wednesday directed DGCA to issue a final notice. However, the bench said that DGCA must seek a response from the owners and developers of these buildings, clarifying that the civic body or the owners themselves would comply with the existing building rules of the area.

The matter will be heard again on April 27.


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