The butcher shops near Birsa Munda Airport have been posing a huge threat to air travel in the city for decades. The residual wastes from these shops, located in the airport vicinity, attract birds which often fly into the way of aircraft.
Recently, a bird hit case at the airport came to light when a flight was hit by an eagle while landing. Sources at the Airport informed that on the same day, another airline took off before landing when the pilot saw a huge number of eagles flocked at the runway.
Despite the Aircraft Act prohibiting slaughtering of animals near airports, it was found that a number of chicken and meat shops are operational in the areas surrounding the aerodrome, especially Birsa Chowk, Hinoo and Doranda which attracts a huge number of prey birds.
Rule 91 of the Aircraft Act prohibits slaughtering or flaying any animal; dropping any rubbish, filth, garbage or any other pollutant or obnoxious matter, which is likely to attract vultures or other birds and animals within a radius of 10 kilometres from the aerodrome reference point.
Officials of the airport authority claim that while the administration has tried many a times to remove these stores but the vendors re- established their stalls without any fear of law.
Informing about the measures being taken to deal with the problem, Vishnu Tiwari, an official of the Airport Authority, Ranchi said, “The Airport Authority carries out an inspection of the nearby areas in collaboration with Ranchi Municipal Corporation twice a month. Following this, a monthly meeting is held in the presence of Home Secretary, wherein the officials of the municipal corporation are directed to take measures for the removal of these shops. The meeting also focuses on the disposal of city’s waste at a proper dumping ground away from the aerodrome area.”
Bird hit cases have been known to cause severe damage to both the airplane and the passengers travelling. Birds can damage the airplane’s engine, wing flaps and fuselage. Bird-hits generally occur during take-off or landing and can lead to fatal accidents or at the very least, expensive repairs of the vehicle.
Prasanjit Mukherjee, President, Centre for Social and Environmental Research, Ranchi informed, “The poor waste management of the city with garbage, especially flesh or animal carcasses, being dumped erratically in areas surrounding the aerodrome attract the birds who feed on it. Moreover, during winters there is an increased chance of accidents on the airplane routes falling in course of migratory birds.”
There have been over a dozen accidents due to bird-hits at Ranchi aerodrome over the years. In 2017, an Air Asia flight carrying 174 passengers had a close shave when the plane was hit by a
bird while it was taking off. The quick wit of the pilot saved the passengers.
However, the blades of the plane were damaged.