Combating bird and animal menace at Karipur

Calicut International Airport Director J.P. Alex has reiterated the necessity of setting up mechanised slaughterhouses in the neighbouring panchayats of Kondotty, Pallikkal, and Nediyiruppu in the wake of the narrow escape an Air India flight had at Karipur a few days ago after one of the engines of the aircraft sucked in a mammal while taking off with 173 passengers on board.

Air India flight 997 suffered serious damage when the engine on its right wing caught fire after hit by the nocturnal mammal (suspected to be a palm civet), and was forced to seek an emergency landing soon after take-off at Karipur. People on duty at the airport were terrified by the deafening sound of the aircraft when the mammal hit the engine.

The incident, described by airport officials as a providential escape, has brought back to focus the presence of birds and animals in the airport’s vicinity. An increase in poultry and meat stalls in the neighbouring panchayats in recent years and incessant dumping of slaughter waste in open spaces has been attracting birds, particularly scavenger birds, raising concerns of the airport authorities about aviation safety.

“We have been asking the civic authorities in the neighbouring panchayats to set up mechanised slaughterhouses for the past several years. Setting up mechanised slaughterhouses will certainly help control the presence of birds in the airport vicinity,’’ said Mr. Alex.

The airport head said that vigil against animals and birds would be intensified. Bushes in the airport compound will be cleared and grass will not be allowed to grow near the runway, he said.

Mr. Alex said the demand for having mechanised slaughterhouses in the neighbouring panchayats would be raised again at the Airport Environmental Management Committee (AEMC) meeting to be held soon.

He said that best efforts were being made to make the airport animal and birds-free. ‘‘Yet, certain things are beyond our hands. We want the cooperation and support of the local civic authorities,’’ he said, adding that all efforts would be taken to minimise such happenings.

Mr. Alex said the airport had begun to break at the seams because of the unavailability of land.

‘‘What we badly need is land for expansion. Without it, nothing can be done,’’ he said.

Demand for land

The demand for 137 acres of land on the southern side of the airport has been raised for the past several years. But local people have been refusing to part with their land.

The proposal for setting up a new terminal for international flight operations at the southern side of the runway has been lying in limbo because of the cold response of the local people to the airport’s expansion plans.

  • Call to set up mechanised abattoirs

  • Plea to stop dumping of wastes in the open