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High Court orders demolition of 48 high-rise buildings near Mumbai airport as flights face danger

Photo for representation

The Bombay High Court on Friday directed the Mumbai Suburban District Collector to demolish 48 high-rise buildings near the Mumbai International Airport as they posed a danger to aircraft taking off or landing at the airport. 

The height of these buildings exceeds the mandatory height norms in the airport's vicinity.  and were constructed above a certain height.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice M S Karnik also took the collector to task for trying to shift the responsibility of demolition to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and said the collector has to do something about this "menace" (obstacles near the airport).

The court also suggested that the authorities disconnect electricity and water supply to buildings that have been issued notice for height violation.

The high court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Yashwant Shenoy raising concerns over the dangers posed to aircraft by high-rises near the Mumbai airport.

The High Court observed that there is no law that prevents the collector from initiating the demolition process.

"It is the statutory mandate that after final orders are passed for demolition of a structure, it is for the collector to take steps and demolish those structures that are causing an obstacle to aircraft taking off and landing at the airport," Chief Justice Datta said.

The court noted that the MIAL had informed the collector's office about the 48 structures in November 2017 itself.

The High Court has directed the collector to file an affidavit indicating the steps proposed to be taken to demolish the 48 structures and posting the matter for hearing on August 22.

The court said the BMC and any other authorities such as the police shall render assistance to the collector for demolition.

"Those buildings that have been issued notices…start disconnecting their electricity and water supply," Chief Justice Datta remarked.

MIAL's counsel Vikram Nankani told the court that after the 2010 survey further surveys were also carried out and many other structures have been identified for demolition.

The bench said it would pass orders with regard to the other obstacles identified by the MIAL from 2010 till now after the reply affidavit of the collector is filed on August 22.