Soon, temporary water connections for areas under restricted zone of IAF ammunition depot

Courtesy – TNN

The Urban Local Bodies department of Haryana has given green signal for temporary water supplies to the families living in 900 metre restricted zone around the Indian Air Force (IAF) ammunition depot in Gurgaon. The residents living in the restricted zone around are deprived of basic civic amenities; the temporary water supply will end the dependence of residents on ground water and water tankers.
The area of 900m around the ammunition depot in Gurgaon covers around 2,325 acres area and has 14,154 structures. The built-up area is around 692 acres.

Gurgaon ammunition depot has strategic importance in the northern region and is ideal for transportation of 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 proved very convenient during the Kargil operations.

A public interest litigation (PIL) was filed by one Suresh Goyal before Punjab and Haryana High Court in 2010 seeking removal of constructions from 100-metre area around Air Force Station, Dabua in Faridabad, which is a protected zone under provisions of the Work of Defence Act. HC had also taken cognizance of a similar matter of on the construction activities within the restricted zone of 900m of the ammunition depot of IAF in Gurgaon.

“Large numbers of people are living in this area and they are deprived of basic civic amenities. The matter of restricted zone is pending before court for many years, so we cannot keep large number of people thirsty,” said MLA Umesh Agrawal adding that water will be supplied to the residents till the final order of the court.

He said temporary water supply project will cost Rs 3 cr. Water will be supply through two overhead water tanks and Huda has promised to give land for it. “One overhead tank will be constructed near Tau Devilal Park in sector 22,” said Agrawal.

The temporary water supply to 10,368 owners/occupiers within 900m of the IAF ammunition depot will further complicate the matter. “Removal is a sensitive issue, which may create law and order problem. It includes Maruti Udyog Limited (MUL), other small/large industrial units in Sector 18, residential/commercial area in Sector 14 and small residential belt in Sector 17,” said senior government official.

Haryana government had stated in 2011 that factories like MUL and Electric City in the said area were providing economic impetus to Gurgaon, which made this restricted belt vulnerable to urbanization and industrial growth, resulting in encroachments.

Six-member committee headed by additional secretary, ministry of urban development, had recommended that it would be appropriate to reduce the prohibited zone near the Gurgaon ammunition depot from 500m to 600m for public traffic route.
The committee, comprising experts from various central ministries and the Haryana government, was formed in March 2014 following the directions of the Punjab and Haryana high court to discuss and suggest a solution to the encroachment related to ammunition depots in Gurgaon and Faridabad.
If the recommendations of the committee are accepted, around 8,000 structures around the Air Force depot in Gurgaon would be regularized. The area of 900m around the ammunition depot in Gurgaon covers around 2,325 acres area and has 14,154 structures. The built-up area is around 692 acres.
Under the 500m radius, 1,131 acres are covered and there are 6,275 structures. The built-up area is spread over 283.89 acres.

Houses share wall with ammo depot

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Source:Hindu

Houses, most with a second floor, rise above the concertina mesh on the depot’s boundary wall Surrounded by unauthorised buildings, security of 54 Air Stores Park, Air Force Station Ammunition Depot on Old Delhi-Gurgaon Road, could be a major concern for the authorities.

Though no construction is allowed in a 900 meter radius around the IAF ammunition depot, houses — most of them with a second floor — rise above the concertina mesh on the depot’s boundary wall. Though crucial for the IAF because of its strategic location near Delhi, the political patronage and a mix of civic indifference and collusion has allowed houses to be built deep inside the restricted zone of the depot.

In order to ensure implementation of the Punjab and Haryana High Court orders to curb unauthorised construction in the restricted zone, the district administration has held several coordination meetings with the Station Commander and other Air Force officers, but little has changed on the ground.

Police have set up several check points on roads leading to the restricted zone to stop constructed material from entering, but illegal construction is going on with the collusion of the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) and police officials. Though the district administration has said that vehicles caught carrying construction material into the restricted zone will be impounded and the driver, mason, labourers and owner of the under-construction house will be booked and arrested, little action has been taken on the ground.

Several demolition drives have also been carried out by the MCG but it has failed to curb the menace.

Experts said that the issue needed to be taken up on priority and the arsenal must be protected to ensure that it was not an easy target.

“We have conducted a security audit of the IAF air bases across the country following the Pathankot attack and have taken remedial measures, specific to each base. There are more than 950 such IAF station across India. We have also reviewed the security of the IAF ammunition depot at Gurgaon,” said IAF Public Relations Officer Rochelle D Souza.

The Punjab and Haryana high court is hearing a case on redefining the restricted zone, with a proposal to reduce it to 300 metres. An early resolution to the problem is key to preparing the defences of the depot. The government will, however, have to quickly formulate a plan to rehabilitate those who lose their houses.