Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday left for Barmer on a day-long visit to Rajasthan, where he will inaugurate the Emergency Landing Facility on Satta-Gandhav stretch of National Highway (NH) 925A along with Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari.
Defence Minister will also attend the MRSAM induction ceremony in Jaisalmer.
"Leaving New Delhi for Barmer on a day-long visit to Rajasthan. Shall inaugurate the Emergency Landing Facility on NH-925A near Barmer, along with the Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shri @nitin_gadkari. I shall also be attending the MRSAM induction ceremony in Jaisalmer," Singh said in a tweet.
This is the first time that the National Highway will be used for emergency landing of aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF).
According to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) had developed a three kilometers section of the Satta-Gandhav stretch of NH-925A from Km. 41/430 to Km. 44/430 as an Emergency Landing Facility (ELF) for the Indian Air Force, which is part of the newly developed two-lane paved shoulder of Gagariya-Bakhasar and Satta-Gandhav Section having a total length of 196.97 kilometers and costing of Rs 765.52 crores under Bharatmala Pariyojana.
"This project will improve connectivity between villages of Barmer and Jalore districts located on the international borders. The stretch is located in the western border area will facilitate the vigilance of the Indian Army as well as strengthen the basic infrastructure of the country," said the official statement.
Apart from this Emergency Landing Strip, 3 helipads (size 100 x 30 meters each) have been constructed in Kundanpura, Singhania and Bakhasar villages in this project according to the requirements of the Air Force/Indian Army, which will be the basis for strengthening the Indian Army and security network on the western international border of the country.
The ELF was constructed in a time span of 19 months. The work for this ELF was commenced in July 2019 and was completed in January 2021. The work was carried out by GHV India Pvt. Ltd under the supervision of IAF and NHAI.
"During the normal time, the ELF will be used for smooth flow of road traffic. But during the operations of ELF for Indian Air Force orders, the service road will be used for smooth flow of road traffic. It has been constructed in 3.5 Km length. This landing strip will be able to facilitate the landing of all types of aircraft of IAF," said the ministry.
The development of roadways as key infrastructure has led to the construction of high-quality highways and expressways that could be utilised as runways along with some modifications and construction of limited additional infrastructure for the operation of various types of aircraft during emergencies.