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Elevated highway threat to Jakkur flying school

Special Correspondent
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‘It obstructs take-off and landing of aircrafts by trainee pilots’

The runway of Government Flying Training School in Jakkur will be cut from 850m to 413m.— File Photo: K. Gopinathan
The runway of Government Flying Training School in Jakkur will be cut from 850m to 413m.— File Photo: K. Gopinathan

The Government Flying Training School in Jakkur, Bangalore, is facing the threat of closure as the elevated highway is coming up, allegedly against norms, right in front of the runway of the 200-acre school to link the international airport at Devanahalli. It would obstruct flying operations, especially take-off and landing.

Stating this on the floor of the Legislative Council while replying to a discussion initiated by Bharatiya Janata Party member G. Madhusudhan on how the school’s operations would be affected, Minister of State for Sports and Youth Services K. Abhayachandra said the school’s director had made it clear that the elevated highway could also turn out to be an obstruction to the operation of helicopters carrying VIPs.

The Minister alleged that the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) had taken up the project without consulting its representatives or getting a no-objection certificate from it. Building it in front of the school was in violation of the Aircraft Act, he said, adding that the State government had written to the Director-General of Civil Aviation in March this year seeking issuance of a notice to the NHAI for violating the Act.

The State government had been demanding that the NHAI should build either the ground-level or underground highway in front of the school. But the NHAI had refused to budge though several meetings had been held by top-ranking officials and the then Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda, the Minister said. He said the intention of the NHAI was suspect as it had expedited the work only on the four-km stretch in front of the school though the entire highway was 20 km in length. As the pilot training has been affected in Jakkur, the government is thinking of using the Mysore airport for training while the Jakkur field can be used for higher-level training, the Minister said. Responding to the allegations of the Opposition that the real estate mafia was eyeing the sprawling campus, he is the government would take all measures to protect the land. The elevated highway had reduced the length of the runway from 850 m to 413 m, the Minister said.

Delegation to Delhi

Home Minister K.J. George said the government would take a delegation of leaders to Union Minister for Road, Transport and Highways Oscar Fernandes, to convince him on the need to change the design of the elevated highway.

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