Hyderabad: The Director General of Civil Aviation has turned down the AP government’s proposal to declare Tirumala a no-fly zone. Union civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapati Raju has clarified that it is not feasible to declare no-fly zones over pilgrim centres.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandra-babu Naidu had written to Mr Raju, asking that Tirumala be declared a no-fly zone. The TTD had requested the state government for the same after two recent incidents of planes flying over Tirumala, affecting the sentiments of devotees.
The state government in its letter had informed the Centre that as per Agama Shastra, it was inauspicious to fly over Tirumala. However, the civil aviation minister wrote back that the ministry had also got no-fly requests from Sriha-rikota SHAR, Mahendr-agiri Space Centre in TN, Taj Mahal in Agra, Ayodhya in UP, Sabarim-ala in Kerala and the Golden Temple Trust in Punjab, and all the proposals had been turned down.
Only the Rashtrapati Bhavan, nuclear stations and other top national establishments are no-fly zones for security reasons.
As it is, due to the hilly terrain and forests, it is difficult for flights to land and take off at Renigunta. The Civil Aviation Ministry stated that if Tirumala was declared a no-fly zone, it would lead to further problems. And as the Renigunta airport was being developed as an international airport, announcing a no-fly zone would compound it further.
During former Chief Minister N. Kiran Kum-ar Reddy’s regime too the Centre had declined such a proposal.
The reason for deman-ding a no-fly zone above the abode of Lord Venkateswara is that nothing should be above God. Even VVIPs like the President and Prime Minister avoid taking helicopters to Tirumala and use the road. A cable car project was also shelved because of resistance from Agama Shastra experts.
Officials said that usually pilots of commercial flights avoid flying over Tirumala due to the sentiment....