Sunday, January 31, 2021

Plane helpful: Mosque ensures safer takeoffs

The minaret of a mosque, falling in the funnel zone of the Juhu airport as well as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport that was endangering runway safety, has been reduced in size after repeated objections from BMC and Airports Authority of India. A funnel zone is an area aligned with the runways along the specific paths followed by flights while landing and takeoff.

The Ansar Masjid is located next to the Santacruz BEST depot and had led to the closure of Runway 34 at Juhu airport which also has cross runways like Santacruz airport.

Jabbar Tanwar, a trustee of the Anjuman Khadim ul Musalmin Trust that looks after the mosque, said, “We come here to pray. When objections were raised, we went to our MLA, Ashish Shelar. The BMC also helped us in reducing the size of the minaret. The changes were made during the lockdown. I don’t know the exact size by which it was flattened.’’

Shelar told Sunday Mumbai Mirror, “The trustees of the mosque had come to me, and I helped them find a solution to the problem.’’

Juhu airport director, AK Verma, said that the minaret was not only affecting Juhu airport, but was also coming in the way of the funnel zone of the main airport.

Now that the minaret’s size has been reduced, the problem is solved, he said.

Mumbai Mirror was the first to report on the issue in 2014. The heli operators had also said that the minaret was making them change routes.

The Rotary Wing Society of India, a professional body that works for the growth of the helicopter industry in India, had then said that helicopters are ideally expected to descend at a maximum eight degrees angle for safe landing, and that the minaret was at ten degrees angle. The minaret stood tall at 37 metres while the height limit was 26.12 metres.

31/01/21 Yogesh Naik/Mumbai Mirror

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