On Saturday, citizens from across the city will come together to oppose the state’s private helipad policy, which will permit helipads in silent and residential zones in the city.
They say helicopters hovering over residential areas are a health, accident and security risk. The policy, which already has the state government’s approval, is waiting for a clearance from the defence ministry, and noise rules clearances from the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
“We will meet at the Carter Road Amphitheatre, where we will also have a street play on the issue followed by a talk by an expert,” said Sumaira Abdulali, a noise activist and founder of Awaaz Foundation.
Ashok Kalbag, secretary general of pan-IIT Alumni India, who currently works with the Vidnyan Ashram, Pune, will speak on the adverse consequences of private helipads.
The citizens opposing the helipads said while a few individuals will benefit from the policy, all their neighbors, including senior citizens and those at risk from high noise levels, will be forced to suffer up to 120dB of noise at regular intervals on a daily basis.
“Mumbai is the third noisiest city in the world. Even international cities such as New York do not allow helicopters for personal use in densely populated areas. While they do have commercial helipads in operation, there is a strong move to shift these away from city centres, mainly due to noise and security concerns, and the potential for accidents,” Sumaira said.
The petition also says the security risk is substantial, and that the Navy has already expressed its displeasure over the security risk attached to such largely unregulated helipads. It has withheld permission for the operation of existing private helipads in south Mumbai on this ground.