The Indian Air Force (IAF) has approached the Haryana government, requesting prompt measures to address the garbage disposal method in a zone around Ambala Air Force Station as bird menace threatens safety of the newly-inducted Rafale fighter aircraft.
The Director-General Inspection and Safety of Indian Air Force, Air Marshal Manavendra Singh, has written a demi-official letter, addressed to Keshni Anand Arora, Chief Secretary, Haryana, in this regard.
The letter states that “the safety and security of the Rafale aircraft inducted at Ambala on July 29 is the prime focus of the IAF”. “Air Force Station Ambala has very high concentration of birds and this has the potential to cause very serious damage to the aircraft in case of a collision.” Bird activity over the airfield is related to the presence of garbage in the area around.
“Several measures have been recommended to reduce the same and Air Officer Commanding Air Force Station Ambala has met Joint Commissioner and Additional Municipal Commissioner of Ambala through Aerodrome Environment Management Committee meetings conducted on 24 Jan 2019, 10 July 2019 and 24 Jan 2020,” the letter states.
It goes on to say that it is necessary that large and small birds are kept away from the airfield to protect the fighter aircraft. The IAF has sought the immediate implementation of Solid Waste Management (SWM) scheme to reduce the activity of large birds like black kites in the aerodrome zone of 10 km around Ambala airfield.
“This would involve instituting a littering penalty, improvement in garbage collection and setting up of a suitable SWM plant at a suitable distance from the airfield,” the letter states. It also asks for prohibition and control of pigeon breeding activity around Ambala air force station.
It is learnt that the Chief Secretary has forwarded the IAF letter to the Urban Local Bodies Department for further action. The official induction ceremony for the Rafale aircraft will be held later this month in Ambala where the Defence Ministers of India and France are expected to be present.