Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology paddy field attracting birds to airport vicinity: Official
Nov 18, 2012
By Riyan Ramanath V, TNN
BHUBANESWAR: It is not only animal wastes and trees, but paddy cultivation in the fields adjoining the Biju Patnaik airport runway is also attracting birds posing threat to flights, airport authorities said here on Saturday.
The northern end of the 9,000-meter-long expanded runway falls close to a sprawling patch of nearly 62-acre paddy field belonging to the Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT). The university uses its land for research purposes. “Every time a plane prepares to land or take off, we feel jittery thinking of possible danger from birds flying over the fields,” said an airport official.
Airport director Sarat Kumar said the birds flock to the paddy field in greater number during the harvesting season. “We have brought the matter to the notice of the OUAT. We hope the university will take appropriate steps at the earliest,” Kumar said. “We have engaged five dedicated persons to chase birds inside the airport. But running after birds cannot be a permanent solution to the problem,” he said.
The OUAT authorities admitted to have been informed on the matter, but rubbished the airport’s charges that paddy cultivation in its field had been attracting birds and posing threat to the flight movements. “Paddy cultivation is done on 62 acre area near the runway side towards Baramunda. Birds normally flock here after the crop cutting. Mainly stork-like birds come to eat insects, but their number is very few,” said P K Das, dean of research at OUAT. He further said the birds were too small in size to fly high to pose threat to the flights.
Earlier, the airport authorities had informed the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) that animal wastes dumped in the vicinity of airport and the huge number of trees grown along the flight path had been posing threat to planes. The BMC has since decided to relocate the slaughter houses presently located near the airport. It has also planned to prune as many as 1,400 trees to destroy bird nests.
The Biju Patnaik airport this year reported 12 cases of bird-hits. A month ago, chief secretary B K Patnaik had directed officials to initiate measures to stop bird menace, considering the state government’s bid to add international tag to the city airport.