The district administration said that there are no rules to withhold permissions for construction of tall buildings around the National Defence Academy campus, after the latter raised objections citing the security of aircraft operating out of its airstrip. Earlier this year, the NDA had asked the district administration to take a No-Objection Certificate from it before issuing permissions for construction in its vicinity.
“There are no rules as of now for not giving permissions,” the administration stated.
However, it has said the NDA must specify norms regarding the height of buildings in its vicinity and the area of restriction, and only then will a final decision be taken. Until then, construction at Shivane, Uttamnagar and Kondhwa-Dhawade areas will continue and permissions will be cleared as per existing rules.
“The NDA has been asked to clearly spell out rules for these areas and once we get a detailed report from them we would again have a discussion and a final decision will be taken. Till then, there should be no issues for the existing building permissions in these or surrounding areas,” stated administration officials. Explaining its decision, the NDA cited precedents of the Indian Air Force (IAF) following different norms when permitting construction around defence establishments. It also said construction which is already rampant in these areas cannot be suddenly stopped as it would affect a large segment of the population. The area has seen several new buildings and there are many constructions which are seeking approvals.
The NDA had started work to extend and widen the runway for its airstrip inside the campus, and in a letter dated January to the Pune district collector and municipal commissioner, it had called for restrictions. “There should be no construction of height more than 45 metres within 3 km of the NDA boundary wall at Shivane, Uttamnagar and Kondhwa-Dhawade, and no constructions of height more than 15 metres within 3 km of the NDA boundary wall in Warje and Malwadi on approach for runway,” the letter stated.
In view of these restrictions, the NDA has asked the district administration to take a No Objection Certificate from it for new constructions in these areas.
The letter stated rampant construction adjacent to the NDA campus was a cause of concern in terms of safety of the aircraft flying to and from the runway at the campus.
In a preliminary meeting between officials of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), the revenue department, the Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (PMRDA) and the NDA, the district administration gave its opinion that the NDA cannot lay down such rules since the IAF allowed constructions of a certain height in different categories up to 900 metres of any defence establishment.
“We have put before them these rules and asked them to refer to these before putting up any regulations. Moreover, with construction already rampant in the concerned areas, they cannot suddenly issue directives as it would affect a large population and they should clear their side first only only after discussion can we take a final decision on the issue,” said Pune district officials.
The Works of Defence Act says that necessary compensation needs to be given if any such regulations are brought about. In its letter, the NDA said that work was going on the extend and widen its existing runway. After completion of work, the airfield will have a runway length of 5,000 feet and width of 100 feet.
The letter states that the airstrip at NDA has been included in the list of operational airfields and so, all restrictions in terms of construction of buildings around the airfield apply to the runway.