More than 200 slaughterhouses in the vicinity of the Mumbai airport pose a grave security threat to flight operations, as they attract birds and stray animals, airport authorities have contended in court.
The law does not permit slaughterhouses and dumping grounds within a 10-km radius of the ‘aerodrome reference point’. Airport authorities have now sought a direction to the civic body to shut down these abattoirs and revoke their licences.
According to the data submitted by the Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), in 2013, there were 18 confirmed and 18 suspected bird hits, while there have been eight confirmed and 10 suspected hits by aircrafts till May 2014.
Further, there have been more than 50 instances of stray dogs being caught within the airport periphery this year.
In a petition filed in the Bombay high court, MIAL has said that despite repeatedly approaching civic authorities, they have failed to control the situation.
“Slaughtering animals and depositing rubbish, filth and other polluted material within a 10-km radius of the aerodrome reference point poses a serious and immediate safety threat to aircraft operations, as well as to passengers,” said the petition. “[This] attracts high-flying birds such as vultures, eagles and hawks, increasing the possibility of bird hits and the possibility of a crash.”
The petition has listed several recent incidents of bird hits, including one in July, when an Indigo flight from Kolkata was struck by a large bird mid-air, and a couple of engines blades were dented. In August, another Indigo flight was hit by a bird and two blades of the left engine were damaged.
When the matter came up for hearing on Tuesday, the civic body sought a week’s adjournment. “We are trying to coordinate a meeting with the higher authorities and work it out,” said Anil Sakhare, who appeared for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.
The division bench of justice Naresh H Patil and justice AP Bhangale posted the matter for hearing next week.