Herald: Dabolim’s new encroachers are a stone’s throw away from landing planes

Dabolim’s new encroachers are a stone’s throw away from landing planes

23 Feb 2017 02:44am IST
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23 Feb 2017 02:44am IST
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Illegal shanties close to the airport have raised security concerns and risks of bird hits to aircraft landing and taking off; Team Herald went to ground zero to get you the best picture, literally

TThe picture tells its own story. In fact IS the story. Look at the plane flying so low over this sudden shanty right under the flight path. There are people who appear to be migrants who have set up camp there. There is cooking going on. And if the picture is zoomed, you see a bird flying, obviously drawn to this sudden activity and cooking

If the dangers of encroachment and the hazards of  this activity around the airport need any evidence, this is the signifying picture which speaks more than a million words

Herald visited the site where migrants have illegally encroached upon a private land and have erected their shanties right under the flight path. 30 odd migrants’ families had erected temporary huts using tarpaulin sheet and other cloth material. They were cooking their food in open and were disposing off their daily waste in same area which in turn was attracting birds in the air.

Surprisingly none of them were even carrying any identity proof with them but they were seen enjoying the view of landing aircrafts that were flying over their heads and very less distance from the ground.

This poses a serious threat since the aircraft can easily be targeted by flinging stones given the distance from the ground.

It was also brought to the notice of Herald that many of these labourers have been working as daily wagers, while few female members among them are involving in begging in Vasco town. Locals said that during the day time, these migrants partly dismantle their shanties and erect the same in the evening so that their presence does not catch the eyes of the concerned authorities.

Shockingly even the local elected representatives from the Chicalim Panchayat acknowledges the fact that the presence of migrants who have been illegally living under the flight path could be dangerous.

Panch member from Dabolim ward, Kamla Prasad Yadav claimed that the local Panchayat body has made some efforts to remove these hutments and had asked the police force to avoid law and order situation during removal of shanties. However, he said the police is yet to provide them support in resolving the issue. Similar concerns were even raised by the Chicalim Sarpanch Neelima Naik, who also assured that Panchayat would do everything to ensure that these encroachers are evacuated on priority.

Time and again the India navy officials at INS Hansa as well as Airport Authority of India (AAI) officials at Dabolim airport have raised their serious concerns over the safety and security of aircraft arriving at the airport.

The Navy and AAI officials have maintained pressure on the government authorities to ensure that garbage menace from the surrounding INS Hansa compound wall be eliminated. The garbage attracts birds which pose a high risk to the landing aircraft.

Citing security reasons the Navy has also made consistent moves to take possession of the St George Island which falls under the path of the planes landing at Dabolim.

Apparently on the ground, the situation is different as civilian as well as military aircraft using Dabolim airport runway for landing and take-off seems to be facing high risk (bird hits as well as security risk) since last few months with the added menace of more garbage generation due to the illegal shanties coming up

All this because the concerned authorities that discuss on initiating measures to overcome bird-hit menace and security of aircrafts have literary ignored the illegal shanties that have been mushrooming right under the flight path and very close to the landing area at Dabolim airport. Astonishingly both these Central government agencies are also unaware of these illegal shanties posing high risk to civilian as well as military aircraft at Goa airport.

AAI Director BCH Negi, when contacted, claimed that any unauthorised shanties mushrooming under the flight path would create safety hazards for the aircrafts. “If illegal shanties have come up, it is a serious issue. It is the responsibility of local administration to address such issues, including disposal of garbage under the flying zone. Still as the issue has now been brought to our notice, we will certainly take it up before the competent authority”

Meanwhile Collector South Goa Swapnil Naik, who is Chairman of Airfield Environment Management Committee (AEMC) of Dabolim airport, said: “I have asked the deputy collector Mormugao to investigate into the matter and submit me a report as early as possible so that action can be taken on priority”.

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