'17 new highway stretches for India's borders to double up as airstrips'

Indian Air Force (IAF) Mirage 2000 lands at Yamuna Expressway (Picture credit: Twitter)
After decades of neglect, India is building roads, including 17 highway stretches, in areas near its international borders that will double up as airstrips, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has said.

While the previous UPA government had sanctioned construction of 73 strategic roads along the border, Gadkari is scaling it up with timely completion.

"People residing in border areas need highway network and better infrastructure. We are building 17 such highways which can be converted into airstrips," he told PTI in an interview here.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is working on the project in collaboration with the Ministry of Defence.

The roads will double up as airstrips and traffic will be stopped when an airplane lands or takes off. The road and air connectivity will also provide better access to remote areas.

"This way, people residing in border areas will have a better infrastructure," he explained.

Earlier, a committee was constituted comprising officials of both ministries to come out with specifications of such highway stretches.

The committee has looked into details like feasibility of the stretches and their length and breadth, apart from other issues. The stretches in question are across India, said officials.

Last year, Gadkari had spoken of construction of such an airport in Rajasthan and similar projects are being planned in Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and some other border districts.

The government is working on ways to boost regional air connectivity in the country. Under the new civil aviation policy, the regional connectivity scheme has been mooted that provides various concessions to airlines.

The minister also said there are plans to boost infrastructure in difficult areas, and in the North-East, projects worth Rs 40,000 crore have already been initiated.

"We will do work worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore in Assam in two years," he said.

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel