The IAF Lohegaon Station that houses two squadrons of Sukhoi-30 MKI and a Base Repair Depot is an important airbase. The IAF authorities have been raising the issue of growing construction around the station, besides stress on the Air Traffic Control (ATC) from civil airlines traffic.
While IAF authorities at Lohegaon were unavailable for comment, an official earlier associated with the Air Force Station, Lohegaon, said, “There are a number of norms laid down by the Air Headquarters as far as construction around IAF bases is concerned and they involve civil authorities as well as the Ministry of Defence (MoD), Air HQ and the Defence Estates Office (DEO). We take up matters with civil authorities when violations occur.”
Rules under the Indian Aircraft Act, 1934, empowers the Central Government to set restrictions on construction of buildings and other structures within 20 km of all IAF aerodromes. Gazette Notification SO-988 specifies a 20 km radius for restrictions. As per the government notification, no construction or even planting of trees is allowed within 100 metres of the crest of the outer parapet of IAF Stations and installations. Besides, no construction is allowed within 900 metres of a bomb-dump, which in Pune is not located at Lohegaon Station.
“Wagholi may be an area of concern as there are a number of constructions coming up in that area,” the official said. The bomb-dump is located close to Wagholi.
In January, the state government had published a notice inviting suggestions from citizens over modification in DC rules to include restriction of non-construction within 100 metres of the outer parapet of IAF station and 900 metres of the bomb-dump. “We have sent the docket to General Body and are awaiting further development,” Rajendra Raut, executive engineer, PMC, said.
Viman Nagar, Nagar Road, Yerawada, Wagholi and other such areas around the IAF station have witnessed tremendous growth over the past five years owing primarily to the civil airport. “The area has picked up extremely well, as far as property development is concerned. The civic body’s definition of highrise needs to match definitions of the forces and a coordinated approach is needed in development,” said Ravi Karandikar, a real estate consultant.