Monday, July 31, 2017

Indian Air Force clears 12 national highways as emergency landing strips

New Delhi: The Indian Air Force (IAF) has cleared 12 national highways (NHs) as emergency landing airstrips that will enable rescue operation teams to reach affected areas easily, an official responsible for executing the project said.

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 — all Maoist-affected areas — which witness vagaries of nature like floods and cyclones almost every year.

"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 IANS.
Despite repeated attempts, the IAF had no comment to offer on the project and on related issues like the facilities to be put in place if the highways are to be used in times of emergencies.
To start with, the thickness of tar will be increased and highways will be made strong enough for aircraft to land.

"The highways will be open to the public at normal times, but in case of emergency, 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," said the official.
30/07/17 IANS/First Post

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