Kerala

AAI’s denial of NOC worries Karipur residents

The table top runway of the Calicut International Airport.

The table top runway of the Calicut International Airport.

Hundreds of families living on the fringes of the Calicut International Airport at Karipur are upset over the refusal of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to give a no-objection certificate (NOC) for construction activities.

An NOC from the AAI is mandatory for any construction within the specific limits of the airport. As much as 90% of the area under Kondotty Municipality falls under the red-zone category for which the AAI’s permission is a must for any building construction.

Particularly affected are people living on the eastern side of the airport, where the table-top runway ends and where an Air India Express 737-800 flight overshot the runway and plunged into a depth of 35 feet on the night of August 7, 2020, killing 21 people, including the pilots, and injuring many passengers.

“Any application for construction in the Palakkaparambu area of Ward 30 is rejected on the grounds that the area is proposed for the runway extension. This is a gross injustice to those who came running to rescue the victims of the flight crash throwing all COVID-19 caution to the wind,” said K.P. Firos, municipal councillor representing the area.

The municipal authorities also said that the blanket denial of NOC for building construction even before the government or the AAI issued any notification was unjust. However, AAI officials said they were issuing NOCs through proper channel.

Another problem facing residents of Kondotty Municipality and Pallikkal grama panchayat is the process of application for AAI permission. The AAI has made it mandatory that the NOC application has to be done through a registered surveyor. And, such surveyors are charging an applicant ₹10,000 or more on the grounds that they are using high-accuracy instruments of high cost for ascertaining four terrestrial coordinates for each application.

Although AAI permission for construction had been made mandatory long ago, people used to ignore it. However, a Vigilance investigation of late made the municipal authorities enforce the NOC rule.

The AAI is planning to acquire 12 acres from the Kondotty Municipality and six acres from the Pallikkal panchayat for the extension of the runway. Following the August 7, 2020 accident, the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) insisted that the runway end safety area (RESA) at both ends of the runway should be extended. A larger RESA could have prevented the fatal Air India Express accident, it was pointed out.

When the RESA was extended by carving out from both ends of the runway, the runway was shortened in effect, prompting the authorities to ban operation of wide-bodied aircraft.


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Printable version | Sep 9, 2022 4:16:46 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/aais-denial-of-noc-worries-karipur-residents/article65699460.ece