Individuals, citizens’ groups and residential associations, fearing health impacts, have come together to protest against the state’s plan to allow construction of helipads atop city’s private buildings.
On July 24, Sumaira Abdulali from Awaaz Foundation, a non-governmental organisation, had floated an online petition against the state’s plan to amend the development control regulations.
The impending amendment would allow developers to construct helipads on private buildings irrespective of the location, be it a silence zone or residential area. It just must be strong enough to house a helipad.
Until now, she has received 175 signatures. “This measure could be beneficial for a few but harmful for the masses,” said Abdulali.
She will meet Chief Minister Ashok Chavan later this week along with a delegation of people who have signed the petition.
“It doesn’t help in improving the city’s public transport system,” said Neera Punj, convener with NGO Citispace, who signed the petition.
Campaigners fear that chopper movements in a crowded locality could have severe health impacts. Noise in excess of the statutory health-based Noise Rules (prescribed by the World Health Organisation as 55 decibels in a residential zone) can cause high blood pressure, lack of concentration, heart disease and severe irritation.
As per the impending amendment in the government rule a building having a helipad only needs to maintain a distance of 15 metres from neighbouring structure.
“It is (an) extremely high noise to handle for the human ear,” said Dr Bachi Hatiram, head of the ENT department with Nair Hospital.
There are about a dozen proposals for construction of helipads pending with the state government. Most of them have come from five-star hotels and corporate honchos including industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s.