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Chandigarh

Posted at: Jul 16, 2019, 7:37 AM; last updated: Jul 16, 2019, 7:37 AM (IST)SAFETY CONCERNS

347 structures around airbase face demolition

Divided into three categories after survey
347 structures around airbase face demolition
Houses along the wall of the Chandigarh airport at Pabhat village in Zirakpur. photo: RAVI KUMAR

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 15

As many as 347 “illegal” structures that are within a distance of 100 metres from the boundary of the Air Force Station have to be demolished for safety purposes. 

In his proposal sent to the committee, headed by the Chief Secretary, Punjab, Mohali Deputy Commissioner Girish Dayalan has divided all such structures into three categories following a baseline survey that included the distance, number fo floors and year of construction. The survey was done recently by the EO of the Zirakpur MC and the EO (Regulatory), GMADA, jointly with IAF representatives.

Giving details of the proposal, Dayalan said a notification on prohibition of any further construction of any kind within the restricted zone of 100 metres of the perimeter wall of the Air Force Station, Chandigarh, was issued on October 13, 2010, under the Works of Defence Act, 1903. “We have determined the cut-off date (October 13, 2010) for considering a structure as illegal as per the notification in question and divided all 347 illegal structures into three groups – Category A that have come up after the survey and are to be demolished immediately; Category B that came up after 2010 and Category C that came up before 2010,” said Dayalan.

He said the number of illegal structures in the restricted area was 347. “Of these, 105 structures have come up after the 2010 notification, while 242 structures were constructed prior to it.  

He said 105 structures that had been constructed in this zone after 2010 could be demolished after following due procedure, including issuing notice and personal hearings, by the authorities concerned, while the action to be taken in the case of another 242 structures that were constructed prior to 2010 would be considered separately. 

As far as the structures that had come up before the issue of the notification are concerned, the authorities have two options. They can be demolished after due procedure and after the payment of compensation by the authorities concerned or under  Section 7 of the Act, the military authorities can give a written approval, with or without any conditions, for the structure to be allowed to remain provided they do not impinge on the security.

 The Deputy Commissioner said the proposal had been made in compliance with the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, following which a committee, headed by the Chief Secretary, Punjab, was constituted to look into the issues regarding  the structures falling within 100 metres of the airbase.

 The structures, which include houses, godowns, shops and warehouses, within the prohibited area not only pose security risks to the sensitive installation, but also pose flight safety hazards. Further, such structures have also blocked emergency gates at both ends of the runway that are required in case of a crash. The Air Force has been taking up the matter with the local civilian administration for the past many years.

The airbase here houses transport and helicopter units and is the nodal base for airlifting troops and supplies to the northern sector. In addition to VIP flights, a new international airport terminal, which uses the Air Force runway and air traffic control services, has also come up, increasing the number of flights.

Originally, a restriction of 900 metres was imposed on any construction in the vicinity of sensitive installations.  A notification issued in 2007 revised it to 100 metres and the same distance was mentioned in another notification in 2010. 

The committee can also consider that if any such structures are in violation of other laws and rules such as the Punjab Municipal Act, 1911, or the Punjab New Capital (Periphery) Control Act, 1952, these may be dealt with separately by the respective authorities. 

Sensitive installation

  • The structures, which include houses, godowns, shops and warehouses, within the prohibited area not only pose security risks to the sensitive installation, but also pose flight safety hazards.
  • The structures have blocked emergency gates at both ends of the runway that are required in case of a crash. The Air Force has been taking up the matter with the administration for long.
  • The airbase houses transport and helicopter units and is the nodal base for airlifting troops and supplies to the northern sector.
  • In addition to VIP flights, a new international airport terminal that uses the Air Force runway and air traffic control services has come up, raising flight count.

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