The Home Ministry has raised serious security concerns over the Aerocity project, the hospitality district being developed by Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), near the airport.
It has warned that sabotage activities can be carried out to target aircraft, runways, VVIP operational areas and even the Palam Air Force base from where flights for the Prime Minister and the President operate.
DIAL is the private operator of the Delhi airport.
The Home ministry’s letter to the aviation ministry, accessed by Hindustan Times, said the Aerocity was located around 60-150 meters from the perimeter wall of the airport.
“Next to the boundary wall are ARC hangars and these buildings also overlook the funnel area of runway 28/10. It is a matter of serious concern from the security and safety point of view to have commercial buildings of a height of 30-35 meters in such proximity of the airport. The ARC (Aviation Research Center) is part of the Research and Analysis Wing — India’s external intelligence agency,” the letter stated.
“Such high-rise buildings near any international airport like IGIA could facilitate anti-national elements to undertake sabotage activities from its rooftops or even hotel rooms targeting the proximate line of sight assets such as aircraft, runways, taxiways, parking bays, VVIP operational areas, ARC operational areas and possibility even the nearby Palam Air Force base,” the home ministry letter, dated September 17, said.
The letter from the home ministry goes on to say that construction work in the area started around two years back without any clearance or no objection certificate from security agencies concerned. Sources said the Aerocity would have in its compound 11 five-star hotels and a shopping mall.
“We are not aware of the said communication,” a DIAL spokesperson said.
“The Aerocity district is planned as per the original Master Plan developed in line with the OMDA guidelines and falls well outside the operational area of IGI Airport. Prior to the commencement of these developments and licensing of the area to the developers, all the approvals as per the statutory requirements have been obtained from the relevant authorities. No further clearances were required from any other security agencies,” he said.
“A committee consisting of representatives from security agencies is looking into security-related issues,” an aviation ministry official said.