Even as the Pathankot airbase attack has come as a major warning signal to the country’s defence establishment, an HT reality check has revealed that the city’s Air Force Transport Base and the newly operational airport in Mohali remain vulnerable to security breach. The danger for both vital installations comes from tall buildings, constructed illegally, in nearby villages that share boundary wall with the facilities.
The air force transport base shares its boundary wall with a illegal building in Behlana. From the roof of this building, anybody can sneak into the transport base and shockingly such a major illegal entry point to the base is still unplugged, two days after the Pathankot attacks.
Residents claim that with most buildings on rent, it would be difficult to trace miscreants in case of any attempted attack at the transport base.
Building taller than airport boundary wall
At the new airport in SAS Nagar, mushrooming illegal shanties and buildings at Jagatpur village are a major security threat. Some buildings in the village are even taller than the airport boundary wall and one is just a step away from gaining unauthorised access to the facility.
“It is ridiculously easy for someone to rent or build a shack there and just keep a watch on the security system at the airport. The consequences can be harrowing,” said a source in the police department.
Intelligence officials claim that as per the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court, no structure could be constructed within 100m of the boundary wall of a defence establishment or an airport, the UT administration as well as the SAS Nagar mandarins had failed to implement the law.
When HT brought the issue to light and contacted officials in administration as well as the air force, the attempt seemed to be to pass the nuck. Officials in the administration said that it was the duty of the air force officers to pursue the matter. A senior air force officer, however, claimed that it was the duty of the local administration to remove illegal structures.