Emergency landing airstrip being constructed on Limbdi-Khambhaliya highway
The Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways said there were plans to set up 11 such emergency landing airstrips on national highways across seven states for timely relief during natural disasters or any such untoward event.
"A five-kilometre stretch between Datrana and Jawanpur villages on Limbdi-Khambhaliya national highway near Dwarka is being developed as an emergency landing airstrip. The project is a part of the construction of 11 such airstrips identified by the Defence ministry, Indian Air Force and the Roads and Transport ministry," he informed reporters Monday in Gandhinagar.
"In times of emergencies, when roads and rail routes are disrupted, and when it is necessary to provide relief urgently, airstrips are crucial. In floods, cyclone or earthquakes, this airstrip will be very helpful to provide immediate relief," he said.
"Initially, 29 highways were identified for building such airstrips, but after the feasibility study in the first phase, 11 national highway routes were finalised. Two other highways where such strips will be constructed are under state government control," Mandaviya said.
He said these airstrips will have a standard design, comprising four parking slots for aircraft, one air traffic control and 60-meter wide cement concrete road.
"It will have gates on both the sides. When we need to convert the highway into a runway, gates will be closed," he said. Apart from the airstrip in Gujarat, two each in Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Jammu and Kashmir and one each in West Bengal and Odisha have been finalised, he informed.
In October last year, the IAF had operated Jaguars, Mirage 2000s and Sukhoi-30 jets and a C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft on a 3 km stretch of the six-lane Agra-Lucknow Expressway.
(With inputs from agencies.)