Close shave for residential areas near airport

Close shave for residential areas near airport
More lives could have been lost if the Border Security Force aircraft crashed into residential area in South Delhi’s Shahbad Mohammadpur near Dwarka Sector 8.

There is an unauthorised colony within 500 metres of the spot with most of the houses taken on rent by people working at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport.

Locals said the rent is low there and the area is feasible for them due to close proximity to the airport. But tragedies like Tuesday’s plane crash make the residents apprehensive.

 A case under Section 304-A (causing death by negligence) of the Indian Penal Code has been registered over the incident with IGI Airport police station. Similar to Shahbad Mohammadpur on the west, the airport is surrounded by crowded areas like Mahipalpur and Aerocity on the south.

Around two decades ago, it was a locality on the Delhi-Gurgaon Highway crammed with milkmen’s families before the airport was set up in the late 1980s.

“Due to the proximity to IGI Airport and Gurgaon, the demand for affordable housing has gone up and Shahbad Mohammadpur along with Mahipalpur provide rooms for a monthly rent of Rs 7,000-10,000,” said Mahender, a local. People there rent out a portion of their houses and earn good money without any investment. “A lot of IGI Airport employees prefer to live here as the rentals are very high in south Delhi, said Manish, a property dealer.

Like any other day, Ravi and his colleagues were at a grocery store in Shahbad Mohammadpur when they heard a plane take off on Tuesday. Within minutes, they heard a screeching noise.

“It was different from the sounds that we are used to hearing everyday. We came out of the store and were scared wondering what was going on. I then ran looking for a camera to capture the incident,” said Ravi, showing the initial footage of the plane crash.

Apart from the residential areas, the chain of luxury hotels in Aerocity has also been under the scanner as they are really close to the runway. 

The buildings and aircraft are not more than 300 metres away. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) also wants the height of 263-metre Shiva statue near Mahipalpur to be reduced or relocated.

Several legal notice have been served keeping in view that airport’s Runway 29 is located close to the statue. It is 11.5-metre higher than the permissible limit of 252.1 metre and pilots have often complained that it causes obstruction to aircraft movement.

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