BUILDING PRESSURE on residents of structures identified as “obstacles” in the flight path of aircraft landing or leaving Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA), the Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) that manages the airport, has asked the residents of such buildings to place red lights atop roofs. In addition, specific portions of structures classified as “obstacles” have been asked to be painted in stripes of red and white for aiding visual clarity of pilots. This will be a temporary measure till the DGCA takes required action, according to an official.
In July, the safety body, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), had ordered that the height of around 70 buildings in Vile Parle, Santacruz and Ghatkopar be reduced in 60 days. The list of obstacles include not just relatively new buildings but quite a few two-storey ones built over 50 years ago, reveal notices issued by the DGCA in June. While residents continue to appeal against the order, the letter addressed to specific buildings asks them to place red lights atop and paint the “obstacle” portion of the structure in radium strips of red and white. Claiming this adds to the ordeal, residents have refused to comply with the order.
“We received a letter around 15 days back where the MIAL asks us to take the step. They claim doing so will help pilots identify the threat the extended portions in the building poses to them. We want to ask the MIAL if they will help us bear the cost of doing it,” Dilip Nagwekar from Shantivan building said. Residents claim not all 70 buildings listed as obstacles have received the notification of adding lights, which adds to the confusion. What irks them is that these would be a temporary relief.
“Eight days ago, we were again greeted by a few officials of the MIAL who inspected the heights of our building. This time, they had a different specification of obstacle height of our structure. In some or the other way, pressure is being built on us to give in to their demands. Why did we not remain an obstacle for 50 years when the airport operations went smoothly?” a resident of a building in Vile Parle asked.
A MIAL official said: “The presence of obstacles is a hazard for safe aircraft operations and therefore, a pilot needs to be made aware of potentially hazardous conditions in the path. This will be a temporary measure till the DGCA takes the required action. We are acting as per the guidelines and directives of the safety body.”
Representatives of the buildings will meet the DGCA authorities on September 21 in Delhi to appeal against demolition of the floors of their buildings identified as obstacles.