• Licence will be cancelled if laser shows go on, cops warn banquet halls near airport
    Times of India | 3 April 2024
  • Kolkata: The Bidhannagar Police has issued a stern warning to banquet operators following multiple complaints from pilots about laser light interference during landing at Kolkata airport. Bidhannagar City Police commissioner Gaurav Sharma warned that the banquet hall licence would be cancelled for further violation.

    The last three months reported 15 incidents of pilots being blinded by laser lights, beamed at the sky from places around the airport.The latest complaint came from an IndiGo pilot arriving from Delhi on Saturday, when he was momentarily blinded by laser lights.

    Civil aviation regulator DGCA bans the use of laser lights within an 18.5km radius of an airport. Bidhannagar Police has repeatedly stressed that the light shows are banned within its entire jurisdiction as well as a large part in that of Barrackpore Commissionerate. “There is a complete ban on the use of laser lights in our jurisdiction. But after the series of complaints, I have asked the OCs of all police stations in our area to hold meetings with banquet operators and reiterate that their licence will be cancelled if they continue to use the lights,” said Sharma. He added they were also looking into legal provisions to ensure the violators were prosecuted.

    The issue was also highlighted at a meeting of the airport environment committee in Feb, attended by state home secretary Nandini Chakraborty, airport director C Pattabhi, Sharma and Bidhannagar DC airport Aishwarya Sagar among others. Pattabhi had clarified a DGCA nod was a must for laser beams and drones near the airport.

    A laser light can momentarily blind a pilot, leaving him incapacitated till the vision is restored. This is hazardous during landing, when a plane descends 1,500ft-2,000ft per minute. “The problem is more acute when the pilot concentrates on the ground looking at the runway,” said an airline official.

    A senior airport official confirmed the spate of complaints. “The pilot reports the laser incidents to the ATC, who in turn, alerts the airport terminal manager. The airport manager files a police complaint,” said the official. A Bidhannagar commissionerate officer said if the reported area fell within their jurisdiction, they immediately found out the source of the shows.
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