More than 260 bird hits at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in 2009 have caused a loss of around Rs seven crore to various airlines, the Bombay high court was told on Thursday.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) on slaughterhouses present in the vicinity of the city international airport.
Kunal Cheema, counsel for the petitioner, apprised the high court of the statistics.
A division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice SJ Vazifdar asked the ministry of civil aviation to clarify its stand on the issue and also directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to file, within four weeks, an affidavit in reply to the PIL.
The PIL has been filed by city-based lawyer, Datta Mane, contending that the civic body had granted permissions for slaughterhouses in the vicinity of airport, in utter disregard for Development Control Regulations (DCR) for the city.
The DCRs do not permit a slaughterhouse within a 10km radius of the airport.
Mane further said the waste from slaughterhouses attracts birds including eagles and hawks near the airport, increasing the risk of bird-hits.
“Bird hits are a menace and can lead to an aircraft crash, thus endangering not only the lives of the passengers, but also people living in the vicinity of the airport,” the PIL said.
Cheema said the BMC granted permissions to about 98 mutton shops, 90 beef shops, 16 chicken shops and one pork shop in adjoining wards that fall within the 10km radius.
Counsel for the BMC however stated that one of its committees regularly visited the area and found the conditions “satisfactory.”
The petitioner’s counsel, however, pointed out that the Deonar abattoir, the civic body's slaughterhouse, also fell within the prohibited area.
To that the BMC counsel replied that the abattoir had been running since 1927 and no irregularities had been noticed there.