Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, on Thursday promised the Indian Air Force (IAF) that the emergency landing strips for armed forces' planes will be developed in 15 days instead of 1.5 years.
Gadkari, along with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated a 3-km-long emergency landing strip on National Highway 925 for the IAF aircraft on Thursday.
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) took about 19 months to construct the emergency landing strip on Satta-Gandhav stretch on NH-925 in Barmer.
"Yesterday, when the honorable IAF Chief came to me, he told me that it took 1.5 years to develop this landing strip (in Barmer)," Gadkari said in his speech after the inauguration.
"Then I told him that we would develop good quality landing strips for you within 15 days instead of 1.5 years," he added. NH-925 is India's first national highway to be used for emergency landing by the IAF planes.
Gadkari said the armed forces should create a small airport here. "As per my knowledge, there is no airport here in the area of around 350 km. I have told CDS (Chief of Defence Staff) Bipin Rawat sir that you can create a small airport here," the minister stated.
"If you need land, we will give it to you. You should conduct your defense activities there, and there would also be a small set of civil operations. If private airlines start one or two daily flights, local people will get benefited too," he added.
(With PTI inputs)