After Pathankot terror attacks Airforce authorities want removal of 'encroachments' near base

The Pathankot authorities will also have to check records of Gurdaspur district from which it was carved out as a separate district in 2011.

Chandigarh: Air force authorities have asked Pathankot district administration to remove "encroachments" near the airbase, in the wake of the last month's terror attack.

The Air force has written to Pathankot administration to remove encroachments near the airbase a couple of days back, a senior official of the Pathankot Municipal Corporation told PTI over phone.

As per rules, no construction can take place within 100 metres from the airbase and no structure can come up to 900 metres around the ordnance depot.

Though Pathankot Municipal Corporation has said that it was "not easy to remove old houses", it has initiated the process of surveying the area to identify the "unauthorized structures".

"We have launched a survey to identify structures around the air force base in Pathankot," the official said.

Pathankot Mayor Anil Vasudeva said, "We are looking into the matter. It is not easy to remove old houses. While taking any decision, the interest of all stakeholders will be kept in mind."

However, he said if there is any illegal construction in the area, it will certainly be removed.

The Municipal Corporation is trying to identify houses and other structures to ascertain how many had come up before the airbase was commissioned and how many after its commissioning.

"First we will see whether these structures (houses) fall in the municipal corporation jurisdiction. Then we will see if these structures were in existence before the Air force base came up here," the official said.

The authority will also ascertain whether the owners of buildings had got the maps passed before undertaking construction or not and if they had obtained an NOC from the Air force authorities, the official said.

"There is panic among people who have been living there for the last several years," the official said, describing the issue as "complicated" .

Most of the areas of the airbase fall in Dhaki, Dhangu and Dhira villages and several villagers have been living there even before the Air force base came up.

The Pathankot authorities will also have to check records of Gurdaspur district from which it was carved out as a separate district in 2011.

Pathankot Air force station is one of the strategically most important forward airbases in India and houses fighter jets and helicopters.