Barmer in Rajhastan is all set to get its maiden airstrip for landing and take-off of Indian Air Force's (IAF) fighter jets. The National Highways Authority of India officials has constructed each and every part of the infrastructure in close coordination with Air Force officials. The airstrip in the Barmer district would be the first such facility on a national highway. In the special stretch of the highway, the thickness of tar has been increased andis made strong enough for aircraft to land.
The airstrip is likely to be activated on Wednesday with a landing of an IAF plane.
"Road and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari would be visiting Barmer along with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh for the activation of the first airstrip that has been developed on a national highway," Transport Ministry officials said, as quoted by news agency ANI.
The Agra-Lucknow expressway under the Uttar Pradesh government also has such an airstrip where fighter jets have already landed and taken off in military drills.
A total of 12 highways have been cleared, with three of those connecting Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh -- all Maoist-affected areas, which also witness vagaries of nature like floods and cyclones almost every year.
The 12 highways that have been cleared are in different states of the country and would enable landing on military planes during any emergency.
Among the 12 NHs cleared for being developed into airstrips are: Jamshedpur-Balasore highway and Chattarpur-Digha highway -- both touching Odisha --, the Kishanganj-Islampur highway in Bihar, Delhi-Moradabad highway in Delhi-Uttar Pradesh, Bijbehara-Chinar Bagh highway in Jammu and Kashmir, Rampur-Kathgodam highway in Uttarakhand, Lucknow-Varanasi highway in Uttar Pradesh, Dwarka-Maliya highway in Gujarat, Kharagpur-Keonjhar highway in West Bengal and Mohanbari-Tinsukia highway in Assam.
Others include Vijaywada-Rajahmundry highway in Andhra Pradesh, Chennai-Puducherry highway in Tamil Nadu and Phalodi-Jaisalmer highway in Rajasthan.
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