Cut IAF Restricted Zone To 300m: Panel – Times of India – 21-Nov-2014
November 21, 2014 - Uncategorized
A high-level committee under the cabinet secretary has suggested to the ministry of defence that the restricted area of the IAF ammunition depot be reduced from the existing 900-metre to 300-metre radius. According to the report submitted by the committee, the storage capacity of the depot will also have to be reduced by 15%.
The committee, comprising experts from the ministry of defence (MoD), ministry of urban development, Indian Air Force officers apart from the commissioner of the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG), was formed in March this year at the instance of the Punjab and Haryana high court to discuss and suggest a conclusive solution in the IAF Ammunition depot case in both Gurgaon and Faridabad.
The committee’s report dated October 24 (a copy of which is with TOI) has been submitted to the ministry of defence for consideration and will be discussed in the next hearing in the high court. The report has dwelt at length on the woes of those residing in the restricted area and other concerns raised by the MoD over the strategic importance of the depot.
According to the suggestions of the committee, the most effective solution to bring relief to the residents of the area as well as satisfy concerns of the IAF is to reduce the restricted area of the ammunition depot.
The report says, “The committee is not in favour of shifting the AF stations to Tilpat range in view of the strategic locational advantages of the current locations. The 300-metre distance stipulation for safety purpose should suffice for the AF station in Gurgaon which will take care of the security issue of civilians as well. Although it would lead to a marginal decrease of storage capacity by 15%, the layout of the facility may be reworked through ‘igloo’ constructions.” The experts on the committee have concluded that in event of a mishap, the blast radius will not exceed 300 metrea from the depot and will have only a minimal impact. “In the event of a mishap, at a distance of 500-600 metres, it will create a pressure of 1.7 psi in which residential buildings will not collapse but will suffer damage to the extent of 10% replacement cost. People will not suffer fatal injuries,” claims the report. There are a total of 14,154 structures within the 900-metre radius and 3,414 structures within the 300-meter radius.
The report suggests that it is not feasible to rehabilitate and compensate for all 14,154 structures as it amounts to an ‘astronomical figure’ that cannot be borne by IAF. Rather, it observed that in reducing the restricted area to 300 metres, 10,740 owners of structures will benefit and will not have to relocate, leaving 3414 structures to be relocated which is affordable.
The committee claimed that relocating and compensating the 17,000 families thriving in the area as per present circle rates is not possible and is a big burden. Moreover the committee has out rightly rejected the proposal to shift the Ammunition depot to Tilpat firing range in Faridabad in their report as reaction time in case of a war would increase to one and a half hours from the existing 20 minutes apart from affecting connectivity via rail and roadways.
The report claims, ” 54 ASP, Gurgaon(depot) has strategic importance in the northern region, ideal for transportation of stores(read armaments) in case of a two front war. It is most convenient for foreign receipts due to availability of air bridging facility in the vicinity, which has proved very convenient during the Kargil operations.”