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IAF begins work on runway along national highway in south Kashmir

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Srinagar: The Indian Air Force (IAF) has started construction of a 3-kilometer long runway along the Srinagar-Jammu national highway (NH-44) in Bijbehara area of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.

The construction work started on Monday. “The runway is being constructed by the Air Force,” Major General, A Sengupta, General Officer Commanding (GOC), Awantipora-based Victor Force, told reporters during a press conference. However, he declined to give any more details.

Officials of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) also confirmed that the ‘emergency landing and runway strip’ was under construction. They said they did not have any more details, which they said could be had from the Air Force officials.

An Army official said that some public roads had been designed to serve as runways for warplanes to “provide an alternative for launching operations if key airfields are bombed out by the enemy”.

He said there is a plan for emergency airstrips in “important sectors and this construction of this runway is also part of that plan.

“The decision was taken in June last year. This strip is among the 13 other such strips to be constructed across the country,” he said.

Another officer said that the roads-turned-runways could be closed during take-off and landing of the aircraft, and opened to the public at other times.

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