‘Burj’ pandal laser show ‘blinds’ pilots, stopped | India News


KOLKATA: the most publicized city Durga Puja pandal, a replica of Dubai’s iconic skyscraper Burj khalifa created in Sreebhumi, Lake Town, has suspended a spectacular laser show that had been turned into a show.
The decision to suspend the show came hours after multiple complaints from airline pilots Monday night about laser lights intruding into their booths as they approached Kolkata airport for landing. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) requires an 18.5 km radius exclusion zone for laser lights around airports to prevent pilots from being blinded by laser beams during the crucial landing phase. The puja pandal is located just 8.5 km from the runway and next to the aircraft’s approach funnel.
Bid organizers led by Bengal fire minister Sujit boseHowever, he claimed that they had voluntarily closed the laser screen on the 145-foot-tall pandal to control the crowd.
“We decided to suspend the laser show because revelers were refusing to go ahead and were recording it on their cell phones. As a result, crowd control was becoming a challenge,” he said. Dibyendu Goswami, the main coordinator of the bidding committee.
Sources at the airport said pilots on at least four flights had complained about laser lights that can momentarily blind the pilots’ vision in the cockpit. While the pilots filed three complaints about the VHF radio in air traffic control that was duly reported to the Airport Operations Command Center, another pilot was so angry about the laser that he submitted a written complaint to the Airports Authority of India.
“When they complained about the lasers, the flights were at an altitude of 1,500-1,800 feet and were descending fast to land in less than 5 minutes. Any intrusion at this juncture is not only irritating, it is also dangerous,” explained an official.
The sources said that the state administration, including senior officials, were briefed on the problem the flights were facing as a result of the high-decibel laser show.
In the past, pilots have complained about the laser shows at Kali Puja or even the performances that take place on the north and east fringes of the city. The Kolkata airport authorities have even complained to the police about the matter. Airport officials said they would have done it even this time had the organizers not stopped the show.

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