Himachal pushes plan for airport construction near China border
The state government has directed the district administration to shortlist sites for the construction of the airfield in the area.Updated: Jan 15, 2019 16:30 IST
As China expands its infrastructure along the border at a rapid pace, Himachal Pradesh government has pushed forward construction of an airfield in the cold desert areas of tribal Lahaul and Spiti district, for both civilian and defence purpose.
The state government has directed the district administration to shortlist sites for the construction of the airfield in the area. Confirming the development, Himachal tourism and civil aviation joint director Anil Sharma said,“We have sought a fresh proposal for airport construction from the district administration of Lahaul and Spiti.”
Sharma mentioned that the administration had earlier proposed five sites for constructing the airfield which included Sumnam in Tandi village, Patseo near the army camp on Manali-Darcha road, a site near Thanpatan in Udaipur sub -division and another one located near Phaldar in Losar.
Earlier, as per the directive of previous government, Airport Authority of India (AAI) along with airforce officials had surveyed a site near Rangrik village, 80km away from the border point Kaurik. However, in 2018, the site was rejected on technical grounds by AAI.
According to the report, the areas was not suitable for landing and take-off of fighter jets and big cargo planes. “The civil aviation department has asked the district administration to suggest new sites where 2 to 3km long runway could be constructed,” Sharma said.
The decision to set-up an airfield in the district was undertaken by the Union defence ministry in 1990. Himachal Pradesh shares a 260km long porous border with China. Of the total border length,140km lies along tribal Kinnaur district, while 80km of border is along Lahaul and Spiti district.
China has build an airfield at Lupsuk, 190km away from the sugar point in Kaurik. In the absence of an army air base in the state, the Indian Army uses a ground in Annandale in Shimla in case of emergency. The air force had earlier planned to construct an airport in Bithal near Rampur Bushar. The plan was later shelved due to construction of a power project close to it.
First Published: Jan 15, 2019 16:30 IST