New air defence cover for Delhi

NEW DELHI, OCT 7. The Indian Air Force is planning to operate fighter-aircraft from the Hindon air base on the outskirts of Delhi after a gap of seven years in order to provide quicker air defence to the National Capital Region (NCR). With danger of bird-hits having subsided following a campaign in the area to check indiscriminate throwing of refuse, the IAF is planning to move a squadron of interdictor combat aircraft from its base at Ambala in Haryana to Hindon in Ghaziabad district of Uttar Pradesh.

Fighter-aircraft were barred from Hindon in 1997 after the probability of bird-hits went up due to increasing pressure of a fast growing population and the resultant dumping of food and other waste in the vicinity. For the past seven years, only transport aircraft and helicopters were operating from here. With flight safety conditions having improved now, Hindon has started hosting air shows. A major air show involving French and IAF aircraft is scheduled here next month.

The shifting of the interdictor squadron, most probably MiG-21s, from Ambala to Delhi will considerably cut down the reaction time of responding to any danger over the NCR skies. Planes taking off from Ambala take roughly 15 minutes to reach Delhi whereas Hindon is in NCR itself.

Referring to reports that the IAF authorities had given their clearance to plans for location of a slaughter house at Ghazipur in nearby Delhi, an official spokesman here said today that the IAF had, on the contrary, objected to any such plans because the Hindon air base is only 10 km away from the proposed site. The IAF fears that establishment of the proposed abattoir at Ghazipur in East Delhi would be detrimental to flight safety and projected operation of combat aircraft from the Hindon air base for the air defence of Delhi Area.

The IAF has opposed the abattoir on the ground that the Aircraft Act 1934 (amended in 1988) does not allow formation of any establishment that would increase bird activity up to a distance of 10 km from an airfield unless a "no objection" certificate is given by the authorities concerned, said official sources.