Guwahati: Mohanbari-Tinsukia highway in Assam has been selected among 12 national highways to be developed into airstrips for landing of fighter aircrafts and military in emergency situations.
Besides the Mohanbari-Tinsukia highway, other stretches that have been identified in the northeast for emergency landing are the Jorhat-Baraghat road, Bagdogra-Hashimara road, Hashimara-Tezpur route and Hashimara-Guwahati road in Assam.
Defence minister Rajnath Singh along with Union minister for road, transport and highways Nitin Gadkari and chief of defence Bipin Rawat embarked on a Hercules C-130 J aircraft in a mock emergency landing on a national highway in Barmer in Rajasthan.
During the first mock drill, the two ministers also witnessed multiple aircraft operations on the emergency landing facility (ELF) of NH-925 in Barmer. Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jet conducted a mock emergency landing at the ELF in front of the two ministers.
Rajnath and Gadkari said the work of a world-class national highway system is being done at a rapid pace under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and that the highways will be from now of use for the Army.
Earlier, 17 highways were assigned to the NHAI, but after a joint survey, it was found that airstrips can be developed only on 12 of the NHs.
One major reason behind the initiative is to strategically operate in places prone to natural calamities and where relief work cannot be carried out without the help of choppers or aircraft.
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.