Authorities swing into action and clear all hutments in few hours; garbage left behind will be cleared by Friday; growing slum was a few metres below landing planes and a huge security hazard
VASCO: The action was fast and furious! Following Herald's special report on page 2 on Thursday morning which revealed danger to flights landing at Dabolim airport, thanks to several mushrooming shanties which had cropped up illegally right under the landing zone of Dabolim airport, the hutments were cleared by evening by the south district administration on Thursday itself!
Herald, had on Thursday, exposed how these illegal shanties constructed by migrants have been posing high risk to civilian as well as military aircraft at Goa airport as the same were erected right under the flight path and on a private property which is located very close to the landing zone. It was also exposed as to how the aircraft have been facing risk from bird hits as well as other security risks. However, the authorities concerned were, so far, silent over the whole issue.
Meanwhile, soon after Herald's report brought to the notice of collector south Goa Swapnil Naik about how over 30 odd migrants’ families had erected temporary huts using tarpaulin sheets and other cloth material and were seen cooking their food in the open and were disposing of their daily waste in same area which in turn was attracting birds in the flying path, Naik issued directions to the Deputy Collector Mormugao (additional charge) Arvind B Khutkar, to ensure that the shanties get removed immediately.
“Soon after I received instructions from collector south Goa that some people have been living right under the flight path and very close to the landing zone, I issued directions to Mormugao Mamlatdar Satish Prabhu to visit the site and immediately clear the place as landing zone is very close. Instructions were also given to police to keep vigil on the migrants so that they should not re-settle there. Even when I visited the site, I found that the chances of bird bits were high as they (migrants) were dumping garbage and eatables in the open,” Khutkar told reporters.
Meanwhile, as the issue highlighted by Herald was taken up seriously by the district administration, Mormugao Mamlatdar Satish Prabhu along with Joint Mamlatdar Vimod Dalal and a battery of Mamlatdar office staff visited the illegal shanties site for over three times on Thursday to ensure that the migrants leave the area before Thursday evening.
A team was also deputed at the site to ensure compliance of the directions issued by senior officials. “First we issued warning to migrants to remove their shanties and clear the area immediately but as they were reluctant, we decided to use police force and finally at 5 pm all the shanties were cleared and we have given compliance report to higher-ups,” Mamlatdar Satish Prabhu told Herald.
He also informed that as the migrants have left their garbage behind, he would seek help of Chicalim Panchayat authorities to get the same cleared by Friday and to clear the area completely.