CAA tells Punjab govt: Chandni Chowk Flyover unsafe to fly over

RAWALPINDI, Nov 23: The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) raised objection over the height of Chandni Chowk Flyover and asked Punjab government to reduce it from 26 to 23 feet as the current height might disturb the movement of airplanes.

City District Government Rawalpindi (CDGR) officials told Dawn on Wednesday that the CAA officials held a meeting with their senior officials as well as those of the National Logistic Cell (NLC) and the highway department at the defence ministry to discuss the issues pertaining to issuing No Objection Certificate (NOC) for the project and asked to reduce the height of flyover.

Street in Rawalpindi

Image by jonnystiles via Flickr

The CAA officials also objected to the building by-laws of the CDGR in the area around Benazir Bhutto International Airport and runway near Rawal Road and said that it allowed people to construct 60-foot high buildings in the area whereas the CAA rules clearly articulate that no highrise buildings would be allowed within 200 metres area around the runway.

They said the flyover was being constructed in the area that was nearly two-kilometre away from the runway and its height and lamp-posts would create problems for air traffic in future. They said the Punjab government also constructed Institute of Cardiology on Rawal Road without getting approval from the CAA in violation of the law.

The CDGR and NLC officials were of the view that the Chandni Chowk Flyover`s height would be lower than the existing highrise building in the vicinity. They pointed out that there were more than six buildings in the area that were nearly 40 feet high.

They said that CAA had not raised any objection when these buildings were constructed and now it came forward to raise objection over the Flyover project. They said that it would be difficult for the CDGR to raze the existing buildings.

The CDGR officials refused to reduce the height of Chandni Chowk Flyover and said that the present height would not hinder the air traffic in any way. However, they suggested a proposal that the height of lamp posts could be reduced by two-foot and the street lights could be installed on the grilling.

However, the CAA officials said that the authority would contact International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) for its expert opinion before issuance of NOC to Flyover. In the meanwhile, the work on project should be stopped.

When contacted, Commissioner Zahid Saeed confirmed that the CAA objected to the flyover`s height but the matter would be solved in coming days.

He said he asked the NLC to prepare the map of the area to inform CAA officials that the height of Flyover was lower than the existing buildings but the CAA officials did not accept the offer. He said the government contacted the CAA for NOC to avoid Institute of Cardiology-like controversy. “The work on the project will continue as it had to be completed within 90 days,” he said. — Aamir Yasin


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