Thiruvananthapuram: Concerned over the increasing incidents of bird hits, the Airfield Environment Management Committee (AEMC) of the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport has decided not to allow the sale of meat and fish in the open in a 10-km radius of the airport. The airport had witnessed six incidents of bird hits in 2011-12 and three in 2012-13 till July, which is far above the normal rate.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) officials said that the AEMC decision was based on the Rule 91 of Indian Aircraft Act 1934 which bans activities like slaughtering and sale of fish and meat in the open and similar activities which are likely to attract vultures or birds in a 10-km radius of airports.
The AEMC with Transport Secretary as chairman and Airport Director as convenor has envisaged a multi-pronged strategy for reducing the alarming rate of bird hits in the airport. The discussions were based on the AAI findings on the cause of increased number of bird hits. The AAI report had cited that open garbage dumps and the slaughtering and sale of fish and meat in the open in the buffer zone of the airport as the major reasons for the large avian presence, which threatened the safety of air travellers.
The AEMC also observed that garbage-dumping in the Kovalam-Airport stretch of the Parvathy Puthanar was a major issue. The committee asked the Irrigation Department to undertake immediate efforts to clean the canal and take action against those polluting the water body.
‘’Mass awareness programmes will be conducted in the initial phase and in the next phase, a joint team of officials will conduct inspections and FIRs will be registered against the violators,’’ said a top AAI official. The team will comprise officials of the Health Department, Corporation, AAI and police.
However, the AAI maintained that it would enforce Rule 91 with a humanitarian face. ‘’We have decided to lay stress on awareness programmes and we wish the public would cooperate once they learn the consequences,’’ the official said.
Meanwhile, the AAI has completed its bird control measures on the airport premises. Grading of basic strips of runways, regular grass cutting on the premises, filling up of low-lying areas, evolving a drainage system, spraying of insecticides and proper garbage disposal system were the activities suggested by the AEMC on the airport premises.