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Babus scrap over airport area cleanliness

TRASH TROUBLE: An overflowing bin near the airport boundary wall in Ranchi on Monday. (Manob Chowdhary)

Ranchi: Officials within the district administration are divided over which department is responsible for what aspect of cleanliness near Ranchi airport where a bird-hit forced a plane to return 15 minutes after take-off on Sunday.

While Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) felt the health department should be pulled up for meat shops functioning in the area, officials of the health department clarified that cleanliness was a matter to be monitored by the civic body.

It is in this background that authorities at Ranchi airport are planning a meeting of its environment committee, headed by the South Chotanagpur commissioner Dinesh Chandra Mishra and comprising representatives of the forest, health departments, police and RMC, to thrash out the issue of cleanliness in and around the area.

"We will discuss the issue of trees on the periphery of the airport, illegal meat shops and garbage dumps. These are the reasons why birds flock the airport sky. We will talk to the forest department on either removing the trees or trimming their branches. We will also ensure that no illegal shops come up near the airport and that the neighbourhood is generally kept clean," said Birsa Munda Airport director Prabhat Ranjan Bariar who is preparing a detailed report on Sunday's bird-hit that forced a Go Air aircraft to Bangalore to return 15 minutes after take-off.

He said bird-hits tend to increase during the monsoon. "We have various equipment to drive away birds like zone guns (these create a noise at regular intervals), electronic bird expellers (Wingawayler) and laser torches. We also use crackers," he explained, adding that they were trying to hold the meeting within the week.

The Telegraph did not notice any meat shop around Hinoo or on the road leading to Hatia. But local residents said that vendors keep using the area by setting up makeshift stalls. At Khokma Toli, which is ward 50 of Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC), and near the airport, there were a number of garbage dumps.

Residents complained that garbage was seldom cleared regularly. While local councillor Pushpa Tirkey could not be contacted, RMC commissioner Shantanu Agrahari claimed they were doing their job.

"We often carryout anti-encroachment drives with the help of airport officials. But as far as running illegal meat shops is concerned, it is also the responsibility of the health department to look into the matter. After all it is the health department that issues licences to run meat shops," he said.

But assistant chief medical officer Neelam Choudhary drew a distinction and held RMC responsible for cleanliness. "The role of the health department is to see whether hygienic meat is sold. As far as cleanliness around meat shops and other places is concerned, it is the responsibility of RMC," she said, claiming that unlike her department, the civic body had adequate manpower for monitoring cleanliness.

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