Sensing a serious threat to its fighter jets from bird hits, the Yelahanka Air Force Station has sought an urgent shutdown of a bone-crushing unit and factories that burn animal carcasses in Razakpalya. This area, near the airbase, lies directly in the flight path, dangerously beckoning birds in droves. The IAF has already approached the jurisdictional police to sanitise an area of about 10 km around the airbase. This implies a halt to the bone and cattle horn processing units that have mushroomed in the area, sparking massive problems of garbage, air pollution and birds.
Preparing for the Aero India show at the Yelahanka Base, the Air Force had last cleared the area in February. “But we are looking for a permanent solution. We are in continuous touch with the civilian authorities. The constant movement of birds poses a real threat to our aircraft,” a top airbase official told DH. The airbase does not want to take any chances after the mid-air crash of two Suryakiran Hawk jets a day before the airshow near Yelahanka. Birds pose a considerable risk to aircraft flying at high speeds at relatively low altitudes near the Air Force Station. “At such speeds, the impact of even a 2 kg bird on the flying machine will be massive,” the official said.
Beyond the bird-hit risk, the rampant burning of cattle horns and carcasses in the open has trapped residents near Razakpalya in a twister of civic woes. Preferring anonymity, a resident of the nearby Army Layout said the foul smell from the bone crushing units has turned unbearable. The stench is a daily source of misery for over 400 army families living in Vasant Vihar, an Army Welfare Housing Organisation. Students of an engineering college in the vicinity face the same problems. Recently, the residents, students and the air base officials had lodged a complaint with the Bagalur police. Following this, only a Non-cognisable Report (NCR) was recorded by the police. However, the proprietor of one of the bone-crushing factories was summoned. After a discussion mediated by the local inspector, the proprietor reportedly agreed to stop any further dumping of bones and carcasses. He was asked to clear the already dumped carcasses within the next 10 days.