The sky over the city is set to become safer with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) putting in place two new radar in the Calcutta air traffic control area. These will plug critical gaps in radar coverage of some aerial routes.
“Sites for setting up two new radar have been finalised at Raigunj in North Dinajpur and Jharsuguda in Orissa. We have written to the state government for allotment of land at Raigunj and a similar process is on for Jharsuguda,” said P. K. Singhal, the regional executive director (eastern India) of AAI. “This is part of the project to bring all of India’s landmass under radar coverage,” added Singhal.
According to AAI sources, eight radar will be installed in various parts of the country, including the two in Calcutta’s flying information area. A global tender for the project will be issued soon.
Calcutta’s flight information region now has a primary and secondary radar installation at the airport and another radar antenna at Berhampore in Orissa, for which the monitor is at Calcutta. At Raigunj and Jharsuguda, the antennas will be installed with the monitors at the airport for Air Traffic Control (ATC) officials to spot the exact position of an aircraft. The Raigunj radar station will help in surveillance of aircraft operating between Calcutta and Bagdogra, the Northeastern states, Kathmandu and other areas of north India. The Jharsuguda station will help in better monitoring of flights bound for the western and southern parts of the country.
A radar network covers an area of 200 nautical miles. At present, there are some aerial routes between Calcutta’s flight information region and other regions where there is no radar network coverage. In those gaps, the ATC has to depend on voice communication with the pilot and other modes of communication. “There is always the risk of mis-communication between the pilot and the ATC that could cause major disasters,” an airport official said.
With radar coverage, the aircraft can be constantly tracked on screen. “This means better surveillance network for safer movement of aircraft,” said an ATC official.