The Bombay High Court today asked the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to file an affidavit tomorrow stating what steps it had taken in keeping with its earlier orders against high-rise buildings that have come up near the domestic and international airports in the city.
The direction was given by a bench headed by Justice V M Kanade, which asked AAI to inform what was the height restriction for buildings in the vicinity of the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) and the domestic Juhu Airport.
The HC was hearing a PIL filed by an advocate, Yeshwanth Shenoy on this issue.
"In the interest of passenger safety, it is important that AAI should not allow high-rise buildings in the vicinity of the airports," the public interest litigation said.
Earlier, the HC had issued directions asking AAI to conduct safety audit of buildings, which have come up near the airports and give show cause notices to the structures, which have been constructed in violation of the rules.
The HC now wants AAI to inform the court about steps it had taken in this regard.
The PIL alleged lapses and callousness on the part of AAI while granting permission for allowing construction around CSIA and Juhu Airport.
The PIL said that efforts, during a catastrophe, will prove to be a futile exercise for the firefighters as aviation fuel is highly combustible given the narrow lanes of slums around CSIA.
"Any hit on a tall building can cause catastrophe resulting in deaths of hundreds of thousands," it said.
The plea alleged that it is due to the escalating demand for real estate around 10-km radius of these airports that a lobby of the developers has been trying all means to get more than the permitted height. This would compromise passenger safety, it said.
"This lobby colluded with some top officials of AAI and an aeronautical study was instituted, which gave birth to what is now the infamous Negi report of May 2011," the PIL said.
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