No private helipads in country: Jairam Ramesh

New Delhi, July 6 (IANS) Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh Tuesday said that no new private helipads will be allowed in the country.

Reacting to the Maharashtra government’s plans to allow construction of 12 private helipads in the state, Ramesh said: ‘Private helipad is a complete no-no. All helipads should be owned by the government and should be used for public service – medical emergency and strategic need.

‘The ministry’s stand is that public helipads should be used for public purpose and not private and we will not even allow construction of private helipads for public purpose,’ he told reporters here.

Asked about the ministry’s stand on the existing private helipads, Ramesh said: ‘They too break the noise pollution rules, and we will look into it.’

The ministry submitted an affidavit to the Bombay High Court last month stating that it did not support the setting up of private helipads in Mumbai.

The ministry is of the view that while the noise rules do not specifically debar private helipads, in view of the high ambient noise levels in Mumbai during day and night, such new helipads are avoidable.

The affidavit was filed in response to a petition filed by city-based Awaaz Foundation, which contended that the proposal for helipads would create noise pollution.

The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) had conducted tests and found that the sound of helicopters taking off and landing was 100-120 decibel. This was double the norms for residential areas and silence zone areas that allow noise level between 45-55 decibel.

The Maharashtra government had issued a directive to the Mumbai municipal corporation to amend its construction rules to allow new residential and commercial buildings to have helipads.

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