Bombay High Court orders demolition of 48 high-rise buildings near Mumbai International Airport

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According to ANI, the Bombay High Court has asked Mumbai Suburban District Collector to demolish 48 high rise buildings near the Mumbai International Airport for violation of height norms.

The HC order is in compliance with the orders of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). As per media reports, the collector was pulled up by a division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice MS Karnik. He was held for trying to shift the responsibility of demolition to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). The bench added that the collector was somewhat connected to this ‘menace’ (obstacles near the airport).

The high court suggested that the authorities should disconnect electricity and water supply to those buildings which have been issued a notice for height violation.

Earlier, advocate Yashwant Shenoy has filed a public interest litigation raising concerns about the dangers posed by high-rises close to the Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL). The case was then taken to the high court.

The Mumbai airport authorities informed that periodic surveys are carried out and a total of 137 obstacles (buildings/structures) were identified in 2010. As of yet, final orders have been passed in 63 cases. Appeals have been filed in nine cases and six buildings have complied.

The remaining 48 structures have to be demolished immediately as there is no compliance or appeal filed.

Further clarifying the responsibility of the collector, Chief Justice Datta said, “It is the statutory mandate that after final orders are passed for demolition of a structure, it is for the collector to take steps and demolish those structures that are causing an obstacle to aircraft taking off and landing at the airport”.

According to the court, the MIAL had informed the collector’s office about all the 48 structures in November 2017. “An attempt being made to shift responsibility to the BMC is clear. We are not impressed with such an attitude. We do not approve of the collector moving responsibility to the BMC,” the court said. “We direct the collector to file an affidavit indicating the steps proposed to be taken to demolish the 48 structures,” the court said.

The court will conduct the next hearing in this case on August 22.

As per the court, the BMC and any other authority like the police shall render assistance to the collector for demolition.

“Those buildings that have been issued notices…start disconnecting their electricity and water supply,” Chief Justice Datta said.

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