Half of the buildings obstructing the flightpath at Surat airport deviated from sanctioned design.

Surat : When the Gujarat High Court has given final chance to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) to submit the Action Taken Reports (ATRs) and the affidavits to ensure safe flight operations in and out of Surat airport, more than half of the sanctioned buildings obstructing the flightpath on the runway-22 (Vesu side) allegedly might fall under the ‘illegal’ category for the lateral deviation of the structures.

According to the information sought under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, lateral deviations of the latitude and longitude—at the time of inspection by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the Surat Municipal Corporation—have been found in about 18 residential buildings in the posh Vesu.

For example, a high-rise residential building in Vesu had the actual site coordinates of 21’08″19.75587° N and 072’45″39.82426° E in the record of the SMC. However, the coordinates changed to 53.7 21’08″27.57° N and 72’45″37.25° E as per the NOC data of the AAI. The lateral deviation at this particular building site is recorded at 252 meters, which is penetrating the 12.36 meter during the mapping of Obstacle Limitation Surfaces (OLS).

Similarly, there is a recorded lateral deviation between 68 metre to 1609 meters in about 18 buildings obstructing the flightpath at the Surat airport.

Sources said the builders allegedly gave false coordinates for getting the no-objection certificate (NOC) from the AAI and that they managed to approve their building plans from the SMC. The officials of the town planning department of the SMC did not cared to reconfirm the site coordinates and the permission was granted to construct the high-rise residential apartments.

The AAI failed to carry out building height obstacle survey in the diamond city for about a decade. The last obstacle survey was carried out in 2007 and then it was done in 2017. The obstacle survey needs to be carried out every two years as per the Aircraft rules.

An airport activist asking anonymity told TBT, “It is the responsibility of both the SMC and the AAI officials to match the coordinates and allow the construction. Even after the construction of the buildings was started, the AAI officials were in deep slumber and did not carried out the re-survey”