From being one of the most powerful bodies in civil aviation, the Aero Club of India (ACI) now has been rendered “homeless”. Last month, ACI—an apex body of all flying clubs and other aero sports organisations in the country—was evicted from its office near the Safdarjung Airport, and now has no office.
ACI was evicted following an order of the Delhi High Court, which ruled that the club was in unauthorised occupation of a land it was granted 30 years ago. The land was allotted by the Rajiv Gandhi government in 1984 for a period of 30 years at a fee of `1 per annum. The licence expired in September 2013 after which the club made a request for renewal and sent a cheque for `30 as licence fee for the period of 30 years. However, it was not granted.
The Aero Club of India (ACI) came into being in 1927 and before Independence, it used to function as a branch of Royal Aero Club of Great Britain. Its legacy was such that then Viceroy of India was the club’s patron-in-chief.