Neelgais, flights share space at Gaya airport

Close on the heels of a blue bull entering the campus of Patna airport, yet another antelope is giving nightmares to the officials of Gaya International Airport, some 100 km from here.

Every take off and landing of international and domestic flights in Gaya is fraught with danger as the neelgai (blue bull), which had once strayed onto the runway, is said to be hiding in the adjoining 50-hectare dense forest cover at the airport. The antelope, which has so far remained elusive, is beyond the reach of forest department officials, too, who are looking for the herbivorous animal with tranquilliser guns in hand.

“Efforts are being made to keep the blue bull away from the runway, but even then there is an element of risk during take off and landing of flights,” said the airport director SK Biswas, who has asked the Gaya district administration to take appropriate steps in this direction.

Till a fortnight back, nearly 20 flights landed at this international airport every day when Kalchakra Puja (the most revered religious function of Buddhists) was going on. Of them, Thai Airways (Thailand), Druk Airways (Bhutan), Lanka Airways (Sri Lanka), Vietnam Airways (Vietnam) were the prominent ones carrying Buddhist pilgrims from off-shores.

But even after the conclusion of Kalchakra Puja, two to three international and domestic flights land here daily. This is precisely why Biswas is more concerned and feels that if the antelope is not nabbed soon, the flights’ operation will have to be temporary shelved.

Taking cognizance over the complaint lodged by the airport director, the Gaya DM has, meanwhile, asked forest officials to evict the animal from the airport at the earliest.

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