The Agra-Lucknow expressway in Uttar Pradesh is ready to become a road runway for combat jets of the Indian Air Force (IAF). This is a first attempt for military aviation in our country. The proposal was presented to the state government after ascertaining details of the Agra-Lucknow expressway, the longest expressway in the country.
The IAF will be working with the state government officers to select a nearly three-kilometer segment that will be turned into an airstrip. The IAF is also going to bear the cost of the project. This road’s runway segment will not be having electricity poles, masts or mobile phone towers. There is going to be portable ground lighting systems that can be quickly placed on the roadside to guide aircraft during landings.
The countries that already have road runways are China, Pakistan, Sweden, Germany and Singapore, but this will be a first for India. Road runways become more important if airbases are crippled during hostilities. The Pakistan Air Force has already proved its ability to land a collection of combat and conveyance aircraft on the Islamabad-Lahore Motorway. This was done during an exercise in 2010 and at that time, two fighter jets landed on the motorway.
The best part is that Uttar Pradesh chief minister, Akhilesh Yadav, has already given the green signal for a runway on the Agra-Lucknow expressway. A group of officers from Indian Air Force station and Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA) have met Mr. Yadav in Lucknow on Monday to seal the deal to build a near about two kilometer long runway for war jets of the IAF, on the 302-km-long Agra-Lucknow expressway.
Right now, the width of the six-lane expressway is 110 meters, but they are planning to expand it to eight lanes in future, based on the requirements. Uttar Pradesh government has decided to develop four “high-tech and modern” satellite cities along the expressway, which again will be enhancing the state’s development to a greater level.
Around 8,500 acres of land will be required for the entire expressway, and out of that more than 7,000 acres or 85% has already been taken. The construction work is being carried out at the same time at five places – Lucknow, Unnao, Firozabad, Kannauj, and Agra. The 308-km Agra-Lucknow expressway is estimated to cost Rs. 13,000 crore, which is a whooping amount. It will pass through Firozabad, Shikohabad, Mainpuri, Etawah, Kannauj and Mohanlalganj areas.
‘Make in India’ slogan is popular, but the Uttar Pradesh CM, Akhilesh Yadav, has stressed on ‘Make in U.P.’ as a catch phrase for driving in investments in the State. The Government is encouraging ‘Make in U.P.’ so that its benefits are added to the State.
When comparing Uttar Pradesh as a state with the whole country, he said, “India is a big market. But when we talk of Uttar Pradesh, with a population of 22 crore, it is also a huge market,” which is a true statement. The way preparations are going on looks like UP is going to become a next big thing.