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Hard work paid off! IAF to operationalise airfield in Arunachal Pradesh volunteered by local residents

Publication: News Bharati
Date: September 17, 2019
URL:      https://www.newsbharati.com/Encyc/2019/9/17/IAF-Arunachal-Pradesh-Airstrip.html

Shillong, September 17: Bidding to accelerate military infrastructure along the China border, the Indian Air Force is set to operationalise its Vijaynagar Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) in Arunachal Pradesh on Wednesday. Eastern Air Commander Air Marshal RD Mathur and Eastern Army Commander Lieutenant General Anil Chauhan will jointly inaugurate resurfaced Vijaynagar ALG.

It is seldom seen that people come together for building a better tomorrow for others. In a unique move, residents from 11 neighbouring villages joined hands to offer voluntary labour to the Indian Air Force (IAF), to repair a damaged airstrip and make the landing ground functional. The Defence Spokesperson (Shillong) Wing commander Ratnakar Singh said that the officials will land at Vijayanagar ALG in AN-32, a turboprop twin-engine military transport aircraft.

Vijaynagar is situated in a remote corner of the state and is not connected with any motorable road. The area is important as it is close to the borders with China and Myanmar. A total of eight ALGs have been revived for operations by the Indian Air Force as part of steps to strengthen military infrastructure along the China border.

Other seven ALG which have been made operational by EAC are Pasighat, Mechuka, Walong, Tuting , Ziro , Along and Tawang . Vijaynagar ALG has been non-operational for fixed-wing operations since 2016 due to want of repair and upgradation its facilities there.

Knowing about this roadblock, the villagers of nearby areas volunteered to provide their labour instead, by helping the Air Force authorities with the restoration work. Speaking about the process, IAF official said that primarily, the work involved clearing off weeds, moss and wild grasses that had been covering the unused surface of the airstrip.

The officer further added that this task required a large number of people as it is manpower-oriented. In a move that is unprecedented, people from 11 villages of the local areas of Vijayanagar volunteered to help air force authorities to undertake this task by carrying out ‘shramdaan’ (volunteer work). The repair work by the specialised team has already commenced, and the material is being transported to the ALG in phases.
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