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Govt strengthens air connectivity, infrastructure close to LAC

The airfield would also be utilised for tourism under the regional connectivity scheme ‘Udaan’

According to a report in the Business Line, work on the advanced landing ground at Nyoma in eastern Ladakh will begin this month, enabling operation of planes and helicopters up to 30 km from the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China, said informed sources in the Army. Besides, ensuring all weather connectivity, the airfield would also be utilised for tourism under the regional connectivity scheme ‘Udaan’ leading to the overall development of Ladakh, Army sources stated. The government has already sanctioned INR 219.39 crore for the development of air infrastructure along the border. “Tendering for it is in the final stages, and the contract is likely to be awarded by the end of April, said the sources.The Border Roads Organisation will do the job. Beating deadlines BRO Director General Lt. Gen. Rajeev Chaudhary plans to complete this project within two working seasons, against the five to six that are normally required for a work of this magnitude even in the plains,” an officer explained.The BRO has inducted all the resources to complete the project on time since the facility is expected to balance the military infrastructure China has raised across the LAC in Ladakh.

The Bagdogra and Barrackpore runways in the east are also being upgraded to enhance operational facilities. Sources said the runway at Barrackpore airfield in West Bengal, used since World War II and in the 1971 war, is being extended to allow operation of the IAF’s C-17 aircraft. It is another strategic airfield maintained by the BRO, and the reconstruction of runways is expected to be over by May end. After that, it will be handed over to the IAF, according to Army sources. Similarly, the Bagdogra strategic airfield runway is being resurfaced by the BRO. Almost all types of aircraft in the IAF’s inventory and wide-bodied commercial airlines operate from this joint-user airfield, which is close to Kolkata. Even international flights from friendly neighbouring countries like Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh operate out of this airfield.

The runway resurfacing project will be completed by the end of next month, according to BRO sources.The organisation has constructed 19 airfields across the country, with 14 of them handed over to the Airport Authority of India and the remaining five still under maintenance.

Other than airfields, the BRO, it is learnt, is also constructing infrastructure for lines of communication for the Indian Air Force. The government is also pushing for construction of helipads in forward locations. Helipads at Hanle and Thakung in Ladakh, Anini in Arunachal Pradesh and at Mahajan firing range have helped scale up mobility of the IAF and Army troops.

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