Bengaluru: In a set back to the ruling BJP, a complaint was filed against the Karnataka government before the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the Governor’s office in connection with land deal worth Rs 1,500 crore in Bengaluru.
Human Rights Protection and Corruption Eradication Forum State President Dr Raghavendra S.R., who had lodged complaint, stated on Saturday that the ruling BJP is all set to “handover 75 acres of land to private parties with vested interests”.
The contentious land belongs to Jakkur Aerodrome located in the heart of Bengaluru city on the Bengaluru International Airport road. The aerodrome has 221 acres of land donated by the erstwhile Mysuru Maharajas to train pilots at affordable prices.
Raghavendra alleged that the “Karnataka Sports Ministry hell-bent on continuing aircraft landings and take-offs, merely to favour Public Private Partnership (PPP) for commercial project in 50 acres and an aero-club in 25 acres with private parties”.
“Apart from huge loss to the state exchequer, the lives of thousands of people residing in the vicinity of Jakkur Aerodrome will come under grave danger if such a move is implemented,” he elaborated.
“The training-aircraft crash on July 18 was hushed up by the Jakkur flying school and is under investigation by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). Jakkur aerodrome is unfit to for any aircraft landing,” Raghavendra added.
Inspite of the “looming danger” to the lives of thousands of people living in the vicinity of Jakkur Aerodrome, the aerodrome authority which comes under the Sports Ministry is “hell-bent on continuing the operations of the aerodrome”, he alleged.
The development plan of the PPP project and the letter from director of Jakkur Flying School to the Director, PPP Cell, Department of Basic Facilities Development in this regard have been submitted with complaint, he noted.
“In January 2014, the elevated corridor over NH 44 was constructed to improve the connectivity between the Bangalore city-center and the the Kempegowda International Airport.
“The elevated corridor (flyover), over 12 meters (39 feet) high, constructed immediately at west side of the runway at Jakkur Flying School shortens the effective length of the runway from 950 meters to 450 meters, therefore making aircraft-landings at Jakkur Aerodrome, unsafe,” Raghavendra claimed.
“The required land cannot be acquired even though the decision was taken to extend the runway to the east. Other attempts to acquire private land to extend runway also couldn’t materialise,” the complainant said.
“On November 2019, the Director of the government flying school eventually dropped the idea of consented acquisition as per directions of the court. Therefore, at present, the Jakkur flying school cannot extend the runway due to inability of acquiring additional land to the east,” he added.
The said land on the east has been developed as villa townships like Sobha Emerald, with all necessary approvals and NoC from Jakkur Flying School. The township has been fully occupied for over 15 years.
“If extended by 170 meters, the runway would extend into existing developments, endangering inhabitants. Hence, it is impossible to extend the runway to the east considering all the present developments in the neighbourhood,” Raghavendra elaborated.
In addition to this, the Bangalore Metro’s (BMRCL) airport line has been finalised to run alongside the elevated express corridor bordering Jakkur flying school on the west for which the NoC has been issued by Jakkur Flying School on 3rd September 2021, he said.
This further reduces the effective length of the runway from 450 meters to 350 meters which makes it impossible for safe aircraft landings, Raghavendra asserted.
“Despite residents of Shobha Emerald apartments built right next to Jakkur Aerodrome lodging an official complaint regarding danger to their lives, the Jakkur Flying School continues to operate for training purposes with inadequate runway, knowingly exposing the lives of trainee pilots and the residents in the vicinity to grave danger,” he said.
The effort of reviving the flying school by “endangering the lives of a large community residing in the vicinity is irrational and life threatening. Hence, the operations of Jakkur Flying School should be stopped immediately,” the complainant demanded.
Reffering to an aircraft crash on July 18, he said that the aircraft missed Shobha Emerald villas by few meters, otherwise many lives would have been lost on that day.
“The Jakkur Flying School tried hush up this incident, which the DGCA is currently investigating. This further strengthens the fact that the aerodrome should not continue to operate and should be immediately closed,” Raghavendra concluded.