IN THE HIGH COURT OF KARNATAKA, AT BANGALORE
Arthur J. Pereira and others ………………. Petitioners
Union of India and others ………………..Respondents
Statement of objections on behalf of the second respondent
The second respondent respectfully submits as follows:
#1. The petitioners have preferred the above writ petition seeking for a writ of mandamus directing the respondents not to proceed with the airport project in Mangalore except in accordance with law and other allied reliefs.
#2. At the outset, the respondent submits that the above-mentioned writ petition is not maintainable either in law or on facts and the same is liable to be dismissed in limine.
#3. Except as to matters which are specifically admitted in this statement of objections, all other averments made in the petition are hereby denied as false and incorrect and the petitioners are put to strict proof of the same.
#4. This respondent begs to traverse the various averments made in the petition as follows:
RE PARA 1: - It is respectfully submitted that the petitioners have no locus standi in the matter as they neither have any interest in the same nor have they been aggrieved by the order of the Government of India for the construction of the airport at the allocated area. They are merely busybodies and meddlesome interlopers who have no interest whatsoever in the promulgation of the project. This respondent submits that it has no part to play in the allocation is done by the Union of India, prior to the construction of the airport by this respondent.
RE PARA 2: - It is completely false to suggest that the present airport situated at about 20 kms from Mangalore is a very dangerous airport and is not very conducive for use as an Airport. This statement of the petitioners is totally false and frivolous is not based on any proven fact. While it is correct to state that the present Airport is surrounded by hillocks on the Eastern and Western sides, it does not make it one of the most dangerous airports in the world, and in fact aircraft operations have been taking place for more than four decades.
It is submitted that the accident to which the petitioners have referred to in their petition was a freak mishap and accidents such as these cannot be averted even in the world’s best airport with the most advanced safety systems. Needless to add, accidents such as these can happen in any airport due to many reasons irrespective of the conditions prevailing at the airport.
RE PARA 3: - While the averments made in this paragraph are by and large correct, it is not correct to state that the length of the runway is 2980 metres as the land sought to be acquired can accommodate only a runway of 2500 metres, which will be suitable only for AB-320 class of aircraft.
RE PARA 4.1 to 4.6: - The averments contained in these paragraphs as regards the EIA report, feasibility report are not correct. As of date the land has not been transferred to the respondent. It is only after the land is allotted to the respondent will the respondent be able to procure the clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests and the necessary reports such as the EIA report, before the respondent can commence with the construction of the airport.
RE PARA 4.7: - It is respectfully submitted that the essential requirement of the allocation of land has not been completed as on date. It is further submitted that the statement in Annexures G and H are the same4 for the development of the new runway to cater to the AB-320 class of aircraft. The feasibility report mentioned in Annexure G was made as a preliminary feasibility report. It is submitted that the final feasibility report is to be prepared only aster the land has been handed over to the respondent No.2, which the respondent reiterates, has not been done as yet.
RE PARA 4.8: - It is submitted that the airport up gradation work is planned on the basis of the request of the government and local bodies to improve the socio-economic conditions around the area. It is further submitted that this respondent which is only responsible for the airport operation and maintenance has no power to interfere in the state affairs and does not wish to do so.
RE PARA 4.10: - It is submitted that the EIA report and other environmental clearances, which are necessary, will be submitted to the Ministry of Environment only after the land has been handed over to the respondent No.2 and also after a detailed project report has been prepared.
RE PARA 4.11, 4.12, 4.13: - It is false to suggest that the authorities are proceeding in a lackadaisical and ad-hoc manner in as much as the project is yet to commence it its entirety and that all requirements under the law will be strictly adhered it including those under the ICAO guidelines. It is further submitted that all social, economic and environmental impacts of such a project are and will be definitely considered as when the project progresses.
RE PARA 5.1 and 5.2: - It is completely false to suggest that the respondents have violated the standards and recommendations of the International Civil Aviation Organisation to which India is signatory. It is submitted that as regards the minimum width of the runway is concerned, the respondents have already filed their differences with the ICAO to the effect that if the existing airport is to be upgraded, then the existing runway strip’s width will continue if additional land is not available. Presently the same is under consideration of ICAO.
RE PARA 5.2.3: - It is submitted that as regards the apprehensions of the petitioner that the
Length and width of the runway is insufficient for a plane making an emergency landing, the same is without any basis. It is respectfully submitted that all the requirements as per the ICAO recommendation will be met and that there has been no infringement of any of the recommendation and limitation therein.
RE PARA 5.2: - The allegations of the petitioner that the respondents have not complied with the guidance material and the obstacle limitation surfaces embodied in the ICAO are false and frivolous. Needless to add, without these recommendations being followed to letter and spirit, the airport would not have been conceived in the first place. All the requirements, recommendations and standards have been met and thus the question of not having complied with any of them does not arise.
RE PARA 188.8.131.52: - It is submitted that the allegation of the petitioners that due to the massive industrialization of the area, the pollutants and the emission are bound to effect the visibility and also effect the electrical and electronic operations of the passengers is totally false and frivolous. All these factors have been considered and the regulations of the ICAO have been strictly adhered to.
RE PARA 184.108.40.206: - It is submitted that the allegation of the petitioners that the only school in that particular area is very close to the proposed airport and that the noise emanating from aircraft will cause great hardship to all the students studying in that school, is totally false and frivolous. In constructing an airport there are many aspects, like the proximity of the airport to important areas, the topography of the area, demography etc that have to be considered. There are many airports in the world around whose vicinity there are residential colonies and educational institutions and various steps will be taken to ensure that minimum inconvenience is caused to such sensitive areas.
RE PARA 220.127.116.11: - As regards the expansion of the airport to accommodate larger wide bodied aircrafts, there are no plans to upgrade the airport to cater to plying of larger aircrafts in the future.
RE PARA 5.3: - It is submitted that the allegation of the petitioners that the recommendations in Annex 14 have not been followed and have been ignored is false and baseless. All the recommendations have been scrupulously adhered to and there has been no gross violation of any of the norms set6 in Annex 14.
RE PARA 6 :- It is submitted that the averments made in this paragraph about the respondents having violated the NBC standards are false and baseless. It is only after the land has been handed over to the respondents that the respondent No.2 can look into the details, as it is a matter of meticulous engineering application.
RE PARA 7: - In so far as the EIA notification and the Environment Clearance report is concerned, these will be procured as soon as the land has been handed over to the Respondent No.2. Therefore the allegation of the petitioner that the respondent has not attained the necessary clearances for the construction of the airport is irrelevant at this stage.
RE PARA 8: - It is submitted that the allegation of the petitioners that the Respondent No.2 has not been sufficiently studied the necessity of having the airport at the site chosen is totally false and baseless. It is further submitted that the site presently chosen for the airport is the best one and in fact the only suitable location for the same.
RE PARA 9: - It is respectfully submitted that the allegation of the petitioner that the Respondent No. 2 has not complied with the provisions of Article 38 of the International Convention on Civil Aviation is totally false and baseless.
#5. It is respectfully submitted that the various grounds urged in the writ petition are wholly untenable both on facts and in law.
WHEREFORE it is prayed that this Hon’ble Court be pleased to dismiss this writ petition with exemplary costs in the interests of justice.
Advocate for Respondent No.2
Address for service:
No. 51, Madhavnagar,
No.61, North Block,
Manipal Centre, 47, Dickenson Road,