Work resumes only on basis of AOC letter

Halted by IAF for height violations,it is not yet cleared by Ministry of Defence,a mandatory requirement.

Written by Pranav Kulkarni | Published: September 11, 2012 3:32:22 am

Halted by IAF for height violations,it is not yet cleared by Ministry of Defence,a mandatory requirement

WORK on the Slum Rehabilitation Project (SRA),which was objected to and halted by the Indian Air Force (IAF) for violating the height restrictions has resumed on the basis of a letter issued by the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) 2 Wing. While the IAF says the letter dated October 31,2011,is not a No Objection Certificate (NOC),SRA officials prefer to read it like one and have started giving finishing touches to the four 11-storey buildings erected around the IAF Station blatantly violating the height restrictions.

According to a letter from the Secretary,Environment,dated July 14,2010,the project comprises 17 buildings worth Rs 55 crore. With a plot area of 17,000 square metres,a built-up area of 52,017 sq m and Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) being given to the developers,the profit of the private developer runs into multiple crores.

According to the Aircraft Act 1934 and the Air Staff Instructions and the Works of Defence Act,an NOC from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is a must for constructions adjacent to IAF stations. The Air Staff Instructions also specify that it is the MoD,and not the Air HQ,that is the only competent authority to issue an NOC. The SRA project,which started in November 2009,was halted by the IAF Station,Pune,on December 3,2010,citing a ‘no NOC’ from the MoD. The project has not yet received any NOC from the MoD but construction has been resumed purely on the basis of a letter from the present AOC,2 Wing.

The letter dated October 31,2011,signed by Air Commodore V R Choudhari,AOC,2 Wing,titled ‘NOC for construction of slum rehabilitation at survey no 203/2 (A) Lohegaon,Pune by M/s Raviraj Creative Associates’ said: “The proposed structure in the present form is cleared as far as the operational aspects in terms of height restrictions. However,based on the Ministry of Defence letter dated 18 th May 2011,the project is within 100 metres from the crest of the outer parapet of domestic area (Viman Nagar),and the proposed building is more than four storeys. In the present scenario,the construction cannot be recommended keeping in view the 100 meter restriction for domestic area and 500 meter restriction for multi-storey building.”

“We received an NOC from the Air Force on October 31,2011,” said Sanjay Kolte,Additional CEO,SRA. On being asked whether the SRA has received an NOC specifically from the MoD (and not the Air Force),Kolte replied in the negative,but said “that (the MoD nod) must have come to the Air Force Station because of which they have issued an NOC to us”.

In reply to a query by The Indian Express,PRO,IAF 2 Wing,said: “No NOC has been accorded by the Air Force Station,Pune,for Slum Rehabilitation at survey No. 203/2(A),Lohegaon. The Pune Municipal Corporation has been apprised time and again of the fact that confirmation cannot be reconsidered till an NOC from the MoD is received since the plot falls within the restricted zone.” This underlines the fact that the IAF Station has not received any NOC from the MoD.

“We are working as per SRA directives and finishing the existing buildings,” said Sachin Agarwal of Raviraj Creative Associates,the developer.

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