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Ward off wings & waste
Push to remove airport rubbish

Bhubaneswar, Sept. 26: The state government has directed the authorities of the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation to regularly lift garbage from around Biju Patnaik Airport to stave off cases of birds coming into the flight path of aircraft.

Other agencies, including the Airports Authority of India (AAI), have been asked to ensure safety around the runway.

The laxity in the cleanliness drive around the airport has been resulting in birds hitting planes at the airport.

Sources said that in 2009 there were six such cases at the airport, while in 2010 there were 16 followed by 12 in 2011. This year, eight cases have been reported so far.

The government has asked the civic body to relocate shops that sell meat, chicken and fish near the airport boundary wall. The BMC was also told to crack down on traders who have been dumping bio-remnants from their shops at many places near the runway and the approach path of the flights.

Chairing a co-ordination meeting on airport security last week, chief secretary Bijay Kumar Patnaik had directed the agencies concerned to take up the measures on a war footing to minimise the threat from birds at the airport. He has also asked the forest department to trim trees around the airport boundary, especially near Palaspalli and Gandamunda.

The Telegraph had published a series of reports on airport security. On July 9, it carried the report Treat for tweets poses threat to aircraft. Another report — Bird and plane in the same frame — was published after the year’s eighth hit at the airport on August 31.

The jackal and dog menace on and near the runway also featured in the agenda of the meeting and the Airports Authority of India was asked to co-ordinate with the nodal officer of the animal birth control programme of the fisheries and animal resources development department in the city so that the creatures could be stopped from straying onto the runway.

The city health officer of the BMC and Cuttack-Bhubaneswar police were asked to identify the meat-selling shops around the airport boundary wall that attract carnivorous birds such as kites.

BMC officials, however, claim that they have the problem under control. But there are many shops and even a market near Airfield police station, which is a cause for birds hitting aircraft, according to a ground survey carried out by the AAI safety officials in July. Airport director Sharad Kumar said they were already taking measures to scare away birds from the airport premises.

To stave off entry of dogs and jackals, all holes would be sealed and anti-rodent measures taken, he said.

Those who attended the meeting also decided that the AAI authorities would take immediate steps to block all holes in the boundary wall of the airport through which jackals and dogs stray onto the runway.

To spread awareness on cleanliness around the airport, AAI, in association with the health and family welfare department, will organise health awareness camps within five to 10-km radius of the airport so that people do not to throw food that might attract birds towards the flight path.

The civic authorities and the general administration department were asked to contain the growth of slums around the airport, which by the middle of next year, is likely to have a new terminal building.