Voicing concern over violation of height norms around city airport, the Bombay High Court has said authorities will have to make a choice between “saving lives of air passengers and life savings” of those living in such buildings. However, it said that razing buildings violating height norms was not a solution. A bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice N M Jamdar made the observation while hearing a PIL filed by activist Yashwant Shenoy, seeking action against structures around the airport that violate height rules.
The HC said authorities will have to make a choice between “saving lives of the thousands of air passengers, and the life savings of a few thousand people” who own such buildings or flats. In the hearing earlier this week, CJ Chellur said the court could not pass orders directing demolition of such buildings and structures all at once.”Demolishing everything is not the solution. What will happen to residential buildings that are occupied currently but violate height norms? Who will take the responsibility for the occupants, provide them alternate accommodation?” CJ Chellur asked. “What does the DGCA propose to do on this?” she sought to know. The bench said authorities must come up with a “better solution.”
On previous hearings, another bench of the HC had directed the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to identify and issue notices to all such structures that were found to be contravening the height norms. In April this year, another bench had directed the DGCA and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation to raze around 110 buildings and structures that violated height norms and created obstacles around the approach area of the airport. At the time, it had also directed the DGCA to issue notices to another 317 structures that had been identified by authorities as obstacles in a survey carried out between 2015 and 2016.