Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jul 20:
Even as the Biju Patnaik International Airport authorities pride themselves on the recently launched ‘international’ air operations from the airport, they have closed their eyes to the safety and security aspects. The proof: a broken wall has been lying unrepaired for more than a month allowing foxes and jackals to sneak in.
The wall that collapsed in the third week of June due to monsoon rains had been blocked by bamboos and tin sheets. The temporary arrangement, however, did not last long. The tin sheets fell off as the roots of the bamboos got damaged.
This has created gaps wide enough for wild animals like foxes and jackals to get inside the airport.
Three days after the wall collapsed, a jackal was rescued from the airport and was sent to the Nandankanan zoo. In another incident yesterday, two foxes were seen roaming around the runway while a private place was landing. They escaped the authorities who tried to catch them.
These animals pose a threat to the planes.
It may be noted that the height of the wall that collapsed used to be quite low and people used to gather there to view the take-off and landing of planes. The authorities increased the height of the wall after the number of spectators increased.
While it was 6 feet earlier, it was increased to 10 feet later. Because of a drain flowing by the side of the wall, the foundation of the wall became weak and subsequently a 10-meter long portion of the wall collapsed at the onset of monsoon rain in June.
Airport Director Sharad Kumar, however, assured us that steps have been taken to repair the wall and the work would start soon.