By Pradeep Kumar
Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh), Mar.13 (ANI) : With neighbouring China expanding it air bases along the Indo-Sino border, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has renovated two advanced landing grounds (ALGs) at Aalo and Ziro, and these were operationalised on Saturday.
This achievement gives a fillip to the operational capability of the IAF and improves the air connectivity of land-locked Arunachal Pradesh, official sources told ANI.
These are two of the eight ALGs at Tuting, Aalo, Tawang, Ziro, Pasighat, Walong, Mechuka and Vijaynagar taken over by the defence ministry on November 9, 2009 for upgradation for civil and defence purposes.
The Vijaynagar airfield in Changlang district was inaugurated first on November 19, 2011 by the then state governor General (Retired) J.J. Singh.
The airfields at Aalo, the headquarters of West Siang district, were inaugurated by Eastern Air Command (EAC) AOC-in-C Air Marshal C Hari Kumar today.
It would enhance the existing operational capabilities in Eastern Command by enabling operations of C-130 J Super Hercules.
The IAF embarked on an ambitious reconstruction plan to upgrade these ALGs, including infrastructure development within EAC’s jurisdiction at an estimated cost of about Rs 1,000 crore.
This partly paved and grassy ALG was reinforced with steel perforators.
Besides IAF helicopters, Pawan Hans also operates its choppers. With the inauguration of the ALGs at Ziro and Along, three have been upgraded with air traffic control towers and security walls.
The new runway surfaces and other infrastructures have been like other modern airfields which would facilitate fixed-wing ATR airplanes.
Air Marshal Kumar also lauded NEP CCE Brigadier S. K. Chaturvedi, project manager and executing agency M/s NCC Ltd for completing this challenging task.
The other ALG projects would be completed soon.
The Mechuka, Pasighat and Tuting airfields are scheduled to be inaugurated within next three months while the Tawang one is expected to be ready by September next.
Former minister Doi Ado, present urged the Air Marshel to keep provision for emergency evacuation of patients.
After inaugurating the renovated ALG at Ziro, headquarters of Lower Subansiri district, today, Air Marshal Kumar said it would not only enhance military activities but also will help tourism growth and facilitate common people in medical emergency.
He urged the locals to allow extension of runway to help landing of 50-seater civilian aircrafts, saying, “Cooperate with the administration and construction agency for early completion of boundary wall.”
He assured to soon look into demands enlisted in Apatani Youth Association (AYA) memorandum, submitted to him, on construction of basic minimum infrastructure for catering passenger with office till regular civilian terminal & drainage outside the boundary wall. (ANI)