Buildings near Ghatkopar plane crash site may have violated height norms
Did buildings around the crash site in Ghatkopar violate height norms?
The telephone exchange lane where the chartered plane crash took place on Thursday has around 15 buildings, a management institute, while an oil mill and slum are in the vicinity.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had last year issued notices to housing societies near the crash site, alleging they had crossed the prescribed height limit for buildings in the path of the flights (funnel zone).
“Four wings of the building where the crash occurred were under construction. The work was delayed because we weren’t getting clearances from the airport authorities. The construction work on one of the wings was to be inaugurated around 3pm, but the crash occurred before that,” said Jignesh Patel, site official of the building.
The building, which has been under construction for more than five years, was being built on land which was earlier called as Panjrapole, and had stables. Naina Gala, who has been living in a building in the vicinity for 10 years, said the work resumed two years ago. “We were told it was not getting clearance because of height limit,” said Gala.
The toll could have been higher if the aircraft had crashed in the neighbouring residential area. “At least 250 students were attending classes in the management institute. The window panes broke,” said Navin Zatakia, a social worker, who has booked a flat in the building.
Labourers’ lunch time, too, ensured the casualties were limited. “The lives of around 30 workers were saved because of the lunchtime,” said Patel.
Dipen Vora, resident of Akshardham housing society, said, “Had the accident taken place a few minutes later, the whole area would have caught fire owing to the oil mill.” “The aircraft went past my balcony. It seemed like the pilot was looking for an empty plot to land the plane,” said Anand Kandhor, another resident. Pravin Chheda, former corporator of Ghatkopar (East), said flight tests should be conducted in the sea.