India Said to Seek Mumbai Airport Slum Removal on Terror

India Said to Seek Mumbai Airport Slum Removal on Terror

India’s federal government has asked Officials in Mumbai for a plan to evict some 90,000 slum dwellers living around the Airport after Terrorist attacks on Airfields in Pakistan, a person familiar with the proposal said.

India’s Civil Aviation Minister has written to the Maharashtra state government asking the state to relocate and rehouse those living around the Airport, according to a senior Aviation Ministry Official, who asked not to be identified as the information isn’t public. The security threat to the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport from the slum is grave, the official said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is looking at terror threats to Aviation more closely after the Taliban attacked Karachi’s Airport in early June killing 36 people and later that month gunmen fired on a plane coming to land in Peshawar, killing one passenger. Last week, al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri said he is starting a wing in India.

Evicting slum dwellers in India’s FINANCIAL capital has always been contentious. Land encroachment and theft by those staying next to the Airport wall have hampered expansion of the facility.

Encroachments into Airport land means anyone with a gun can shoot an Aircraft down or target civilians in the Airport, the official said. The slums occupy about 309 acres (125 hectares) of land around the Airport in India’s FINANCIAL capital.

Uday Moray, a spokesman for India’s civil Aviation ministry, did not respond to two calls to his mobile phone. Mumbai Airport spokesman Vaibhav Tiwari also did not respond to calls seeking comment. Aniruddha Ashtaputre, a spokesman for the Maharashtra government, whose capital is Mumbai, did not have an immediate comment.

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Mohini Porwal [ B Sc]
Trainee News Editor
Indian Aviation News Editor