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Air strips on 28 highways for emergency landing

Source : Mint

Air strips on 28 highways for emergency landing
IAF fighter Sukhoi Su-30 lands during the inauguration of an emergency landing strip at Gandhav Bhakasar section on NH-925 in Barmer, 9 Sept 2021 (PTI Photo/Vijay Verma)

Three months ago, an Indian Air Force (IAF) plane carrying Prime Minister Narendra Modi landed on the Purvanchal Expressway in Uttar Pradesh, demonstrating yet again the potential of highways to facilitate such landings. Now, the central government is gunning for more such airstrips for emergency landing on highways across the country, as part of the PM Gati Shakti National Mission.

The Union road ministry has identified 28 locations on key and strategic operational national highways to build landing strips for fixed-wing aircraft, two government officials aware of the development said. Portions of national highways will converted as airstrips to facilitate landing of defence aircraft and certain civilian aircraft in emergency situations. A strategy paper prepared by the ministry said such infrastructure will be developed in collaboration with the defence ministry.

Mint has seen a copy of the paper. “A total of 28 locations have been strategically identified for development of emergency landing strips. Out of these 28 locations, civil works are complete for 1 location and civil work is in progress for four locations,” the paper said. These are mostly in states that share borders with other countries.

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