As a fall out of the Pathankot terror attack where terrorists are believed to have hidden in a old MES building on the premises of the airbase, all derelict and abandoned buildings located in the air force stations under the Western Air Command are being demolished.
Highly placed sources in the air force told The Indian Express that several such buildings have been identified all across the command and instructions have been given to immediately commence their demolition. The air force authorities are coordinating with the Military Engineering Service (MES) authorities in each airbase as the maintenance of these buildings falls under the purview of the MES.
Several structures in the Chandigarh air force station have already been razed to the ground and their rubble cleared up after a security audit was done and it was found that these structures were not in use for long and had no utility. “Many buildings across the airbases in the region had fallen into a state of disrepair and it was not worthwhile to keep them standing as these could be misused,” said a senior air force officer.
The investigations into the terrorist attack on Pathankot airbase had revealed that the terrorists had managed to enter an MES shed which had not been opened up for long and had spent a night in it resting and recuperating. All such buildings have been identified, consequent to the attack, to be a potential security threat and the demolition orders have been given to prevent a repeat of the Pathankot incident. The Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Air Command, Air Marshal SB Deo, is learnt to have visited several air force stations, including Chandigarh, in the past few days to take stock of the security audit.
Meanwhile all excessive vegetation in the airbases is also being removed along the boundary walls as well as inside the airbases after it was revealed that the terrorists had made use of tree branches along the boundary wall of the Pathankot airbase to gain entry. A senior officer informed that the pruning of trees and bushes began almost immediately after the Pathankot attack concluded.
Consequent to an alert issued across north India for a possible terror strike in the days leading upto the Republic Day, the air force has restricted the entry of all MES contractors and labourers in the airbases till January 27. Security checks have been increased along the perimeter of the air force stations and no non-essential personnel will be allowed inside the airbase till Jan 27.