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6 families engaged in pigeon breeding near airbase shifted

The district administration has shifted all six families engaged in the pigeon-breeding business in the vicinity of the Indian Air Force station in Ambala Cantonment.

The action was taken after the IAF authorities took up with the state government and the district administration the issue of danger to newly acquired Rafale jets from birds and illegal constructions around the airbase. Unauthorised structures have mushroomed in the close vicinity of the IAF station over the years. Rough estimates state that over 8,000 persons are residing in over 1,000 structures built in the 100-metre prohibited radius of the airbase.

Deputy Commissioner Ashok Kumar Sharma along with the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) of the IAF station today reviewed the situation. He also chaired a meeting with the SDMs and the municipal council heads of Ambala Cantonment and Ambala City.

Sharma told The Tribune that all six families engaged in the pigeon-breeding business had been shifted from the vicinity of the airbase and the existing ban on kite flying and private drones had been extended from 3-km radius to 4-km radius of the IAF station. Besides, the solid waste dump at Jadaut village in the close proximity of the airbase that attracted wild birds had been shifted. Forest and Wildlife Department officials had been directed to tackle the menace of wild birds flying in the area.

Regarding illegal constructions, Sharma directed the district civil and police authorities to ensure that no fresh structure comes up in the prohibited 100-metre radius of the airbase. “We are deliberating on the issue of the existing illegal structures and will take action considering all aspects,” he said.

He said that the Air Officer Commanding of the IAF station was satisfied with the action taken. He added that the recent communications from the IAF authorities were a routine exercise to formally inform the state government about the arrival of the new multi-role combat fighter aircraft here.

On August 5, IAF Director General (Inspection and Safety) Air Marshal Manvendra Singh had written to Chief Secretary Keshni Anand Arora, seeking help in tackling the threat to Rafale jets from birds flying around the airbase in Ambala Cantonment. Subsequently, the Chief Secretary had ordered the officers concerned to address the issue while referring the IAF representation to the Urban Local Government Department.

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