Wednesday, August 04, 2021

‘Violating height norms’: HC pulls up DGCA, SMC over structures near Surat airport

Ahmedabad: A division bench of the Gujarat High Court came down heavily on the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) for not taking action against structures near the Surat airport in violation of law, posing serious safety concerns.

Directing the authorities to file action taken reports and latest status reports by the next date of hearing, the court said on August 2, “else personal responsibility will be fixed” on the officials concerned and they will be asked to make cash security deposits from their personal funds.

In a 2019 public interest litigation, party-in-person citizen Vishwas Bhambhurkar had highlighted that illegal constructions were permitted around the Surat airport, violating norms and requested such structures be evacuated and demolished.

Demolition notices were issued to such buildings after a joint survey by the officials of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the SMC in 2018, but as noted in a court order in December 2019, “none of the authorities have taken it seriously”. The court also noted that while these offending buildings did not have building use permission, the SMC authorities allowed people to occupy the premises.

In December 2019, the authorities had sought six months’ time from the court “to take a final decision” with respect to the nearly 35 structures that were found violating the norms.

While the DGCA fixed a date for granting personal hearing to those issued notice for March 2020, it was submitted before the court in June 2020 that it had to be adjourned and subsequently Covid lockdown was imposed.

04/08/21 Indian Express

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