Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Show clearances to buildings around Navi Mumbai airport are illegal: HC to petitioner

The Bombay High Court on Monday was informed by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) that it has received 123 applications seeking No-Objection Certificate (NOC) for construction of buildings above permissible height restriction of 55.1 metres within 20 kilometre radius of proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport. As many as 104 of them were cleared while 19 were pending approval, it added.

The AAI had, last month, decided to relax the height restrictions for construction of buildings near the Navi Mumbai airport from 55.1 metres to 160 metres.

The court raised concerns about high-rises coming up even before the airport is ready and said that if this continues, authorities will have to find out how the airport can be accommodated within the structures around.

“What is amusing to us is that the airport is yet to come up, but buildings are coming up first. Ideally, the airport should come up first. Here, you have to check how airport can be accommodated. That is amusing to us. Even before the airport has come up, you (authorities) want to have all constructions done. If you make it so tight, does it not raise concerns? Development is needed but not at the risk of people,” the bench orally remarked.

The bench also asked the petitioner, who in his PIL raised concerns over structures around airports posing a threat to the take-off and landing of flights, to specify the laws under which it can question AAI’s decision to clear the constructions above permissible height of 55.1 metres and approval by the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO), the planning authority in Navi Mumbai, which gave permissions for such constructions.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Makarand S Karnik on August 25, while hearing PIL filed by advocate Yeshwanth Shenoy in 2019, asked the AAI if it had relaxed height restriction norms.

The petitioner said several structures were constructed in violation of the Ministry of Civil Aviation (Height Restrictions for Safeguarding of Aircraft Operations) Rules, 2015. The petitioner referred to a July 30 press note by CIDCO and said the authority amended the norms to grant no-objection to construction of buildings within a 20-kilometre radius of the airport as it raised the height limit from 55.1 metres to 160 metres above mean sea level (AMSL).

On Monday, AAI submitted an affidavit stating that 2015 rules permit construction of buildings above 55.1 metres within 20 kilometre radius of the airport.

30/08/22 Indian Express

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