Vinay Kumar

NEW DELHI: The government on Tuesday declared a no-fly zone around a 10-km radius of the Kalpakkam nuclear installation in Tamil Nadu.

The Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) sent notice to all airlines, prohibiting all flying activity up to a height of 10,000 feet over the Kalpakkam area, official sources said.

Exercising the DGCA’s special powers, its chief Nasim Zaidi issued the directive “in the interest of the security of India.”

Special powers have been granted to the DGCA under the Aircraft Act of 1934, using which it can issue directives to all aviation operators, including the air traffic control, communication, navigation, surveillance and air traffic management.

Situated about 80 km from Chennai, Kalpakkam houses the Madras Atomic Power Station (MAPS-I) and the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research.

The sources said that the no-fly directions were based on the threat perception assessed by aviation security and intelligence agencies, particularly in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. They said the perception of threat to other vital installations and nuclear power plants was also being analysed and appropriate directions would be issued, if necessary.

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