High-rises in GIFT City run into trouble It’s third time unlucky...

High-rises in GIFT City run into trouble

It’s third time unlucky for Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT), billed as India’s first global financial services and IT hub that’s coming up near Ahmedabad airport.
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The smart city project may have to scale down the height of several planned multi-storied buildings after a study that that it had specifically sought – the third such survey since 2008 – recommended that curbs on high-rises in the vicinity of the airport should be maintained without exception in the interests of aviation safety.

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A committee of the aviation ministry approved the findings of a six month study by the International Civil Aviation Organization, which recommended heights ranging from 74 metres and 191 metres for 52 high-rise buildings in GIFT, against requests from 68 metres to 474 metres.

The financial and IT hub, being developed by state-owned Gujarat Urban Development Company Ltd. and Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd, is located 12 km from Ahmedabad’s international airport.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in January he envisioned GIFT as a centre that would set the prices of some of largest traded instruments in the world, including commodities, currencies and equities.

The appellate committee on height clearance, under the Ministry of Civil Aviation, met on September 21 and approved the height limit recommendations for GIFT, according to the minutes published on the website of the Airports Authority of India. Height restrictions on buildings and structures around airports are meant to aid navigation and keep flight paths clear during landings and take-offs.

Arun Kumar, a joint secretary in the ministry and chairman of the appellate committee, declined to comment on the matter. ET spoke to multiple officials in the ministry and AAI, who said the ICAO report was an endorsement of a study conducted by AAI. “There are prescribed permissible limits – it is about aircraft safety. No organisation can relax height by over 250 metres,” an aviation expert said.

According to the minutes and annexures, the appellate committee approved height requests as sought by GIFT for 26 of the 52 structures, including one building that’s 191metres high.

However, height exemption requests for other structures were denied. In block B10, for which GIFT sought approval for a height of 474 metres, the permissible limit of 177 metres was granted. In block B13, GIFT sought a height of 305 metres and the permissible elevation of 183 metres was granted. The aeronautical study, the second by ICAO, was approved in July 2016 by the appellate committee following a request by GIFT.

According to the minutes of a meeting issued by the appellate committee at that time, GIFT was a project of “public importance.” “As GIFT wasn’t satisfied with AAIprescribed limits and insisted on ICAO study, the appellate committee agreed to their request,” a ministry official said.

Info source- economictimes

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