Ministry of Defence:
Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh and Minister for Road Transport and Highways Shri Nitin Gadkari jointly inaugurated Emergency Landing Facility (ELF) for the Indian Air Force (IAF) at Satta-Gandhav stretch on NH-925A near Barmer, Rajasthan.
The two Ministers travelled to Barmer on C-130J aircraft to inaugurate the facility.
They also witnessed aircraft operations on the ELF, which has been constructed in just 19 months by M/S GHV India Pvt. Ltd. under the supervision of IAF and National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
This is the first time that a National Highway has been used for emergency landing of aircraft of Indian Air Force. This landing strip will be able to facilitate landing of all types of IAF aircraft.
In his address, Shri Rajnath Singh lauded the IAF, NHAI & the private sector for joining hands and completing the construction of Emergency Landing Field in 19 months despite COVID-19 restrictions.
It is a great example of coordination among multiple departments & Ministries; Government & private sector and Civil & Defence, he added.
The Raksha Mantri defined the landing of IAF aircraft on the 3 km stretch as a historic new strength of New India, as it coincides with the 75th year of Independence and 50th year of India’s victory in the 1971 war.
The Raksha Mantri described ELF near the International Border as a shining example of the Government’s commitment to protect the unity and sovereignty of the nation.
“This highway and landing field will further cement the basic infrastructure along the western border and strengthen national security. Such emergency fields will provide more edge to the operational and civil assistance of our forces. It will also play a crucial role in facing natural calamities,” he said.
Shri Rajnath Singh commended the Armed Forces for displaying the same level of courage, dedication and promptness during natural calamities as they show when they face their adversaries.
He lauded the Indian Air Force for playing a central role in dealing with the situation arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Raksha Mantri reiterated the Government’s resolve to bolster the network of roads and highways across the country, with focus on constructing emergency landing fields at strategic and important places.
He stated that the continuous construction of roads, highways and bridges across the country reflects the Government’s commitment towards nation building. “The roads and highways projects being undertaken by our government have proved that defence and development are not two separate entities. Both complement each other,” he added.