The Maharashtra government’s helipad policy may not take off.
The government had asked the Union Ministry of Environment of Forests (MoEF) to approve the guidelines it had drafted on November 24 last year.
The guidelines sought permissions for private helipads on residential buildings, in silent zones and ecologically sensitive areas.
But after Union Minister for Environment and Forests, Jairam Ramesh, has openly expressed discontent over it, it seems unlikely that business tycoons Mukesh Ambani, Ratan Tata and others will have the luxury of helipads atop their multi-storey homes.
“We have sent guidelines to the environment ministry and the civil aviation ministry for their approval,” said Secretary, Environment Department, Valsa Nair Singh on Tuesday.
“In fact, even in the court case filed by activists, we have replied saying that it is the central government which will be the right forum to decide the way ahead.”
Ramesh, in an exclusive interview to Hindustan Times on March 13, had said that there was no question of the MoEF allowing private helipads.
He had said they would pose noise, health and security problems.
Singh said the state government is awaiting feedback from the environment ministry and their say will be taken as the final word.
The guidelines the Maharashtra government formulated specify that owners of private helipads should follow certain rules.
They will have to take precautions against bird hits, maintain ambient noise levels according to the norms, install automatic noise readers.
The rules allowed only two landings and two take-offs between 6 am and 6 pm.
Anti-noise pollution activist, Sumaira Abdulali, challenged the policy in court.
She said helicopters would cause noise between 100 to 120 decibels while taking off and landing, which is beyond the limit of 50 to 60 decibels for residential zones.