While tensions grow in the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh between the Indian and Chinese armies, the Indian government prepares to construct an 'emergency landing and runway strip' in Anantnag. The 3.5-km-long new runway airstrip is planned along the NH-44 in Anantnag district of south Kashmir.
3.5-km-long new runway strip in Anantnag
The strip constructed on the Srinagar-Banihal highway will cover a distance from 246.2 km to 249.7 km.
According to the sources, earth filling work is underway on the stretch. The work is processed under a lesser-known construction company — Fetch Constructions — based in the Mirbazar area of Anantnag district.
Regional Manager, National Highways Authority of India, Hemraj Bhagat, confirmed the construction of the 'emergency landing and runway strip'.
"I do not know the operational details. For that, you will have to talk to the Air Force authorities. But yes, a landing-cum-runway strip is being constructed along the NH-44," said Bhagat.
Meanwhile, Defense spokesperson Rajesh Kalia said that he was unaware of any such development in the district.
Other airstrips under construction
As per the government reports, on the other hand, it confirmed that the airstrip was being constructed in the area although the work seemingly has no links with the current standoff in Ladakh or skirmishes with Pakistan on the Line of Control.
"The decision was taken in June last year. This strip is among the 13 other such strips to be constructed across the country," stated the sources.
The 3.5-km-long strip in south Kashmir would be completed at an estimated cost of around Rs 119 crore within a period of eight months.
In addition to this, other strips would be constructed in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, and Gujarat. "The latter three will get one strip each and the former four states will get two strips each," mentioned the sources.