The national highway connecting Mohanbari with Tinsukia in upper Assam will soon be developed as an emergency landing airstrip for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
The IAF has cleared 12 National Highways (NHs) as emergency landing airstrips that will enable rescue operation teams to reach affected areas easily. The plan includes the national highway portion between Mohanbari and Tinsukia, which passes through IAF’s Chabua air force station.
Although there was initially a proposal to develop a total of 21 NHs into airstrips, for now 12 highways have been cleared, with three of those connecting Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.
“The IAF has given clearance to 12 NHs to be developed into emergency landing airstrips out of the total 21. However, on the remaining NHs, discussions and testing are on and soon they too are likely to be cleared by the IAF,” a senior government official, requesting anonymity, told news agency IANS.
The IANS story noted that the thickness of tar will be increased and highways will be made strong enough for aircraft to land. “The highways will be open for public during normal times, but in case there is an emergency, then normal traffic will be blocked and the stretch will be used for aircraft landing. Also, alternate ways will be created for the normal traffic flow during emergencies,” an official was quoted as saying.
Among the 12 NHs cleared for being developed into airstrips are:
· Jamshedpur-Balasore highway
· Chattarpur-Digha highway
· Kishanganj-Islampur highway
· Delhi-Moradabad highway
· Bijbehara-Chinar Bagh highway
· Rampur-Kathgodam highway
· Lucknow-Varanasi highway
· Dwarka-Maliya highway
· Kharagpur-Keonjhar highway
· Mohanbari-Tinsukia highway