Twenty aircraft of the Indian Air Force
(IAF), including AN-32 transport, Mirage 2000
and Sukhoi 30 MKI, made a touchdown on the Lucknow-Agra Expressway on Tuesday.
Two AN-32 transport and fighter planes such as Mirage 2000, Jaguar, Sukhoi 30 MKI are taking part in the exercise.The AN-32 are meant for humanitarian assistance and relief operations during floods or any other natural calamity.
The exercise was conducted near Bangarmau in Unnao.
The IAF's touchdown exercise, in collaboration with the Uttar Pradesh Government, is the first official IAF
exercise on the expressway, which was inaugurated in November last year.
"It is for the first time any transport aircraft will land and then take off from the expressway. The AN-32 are meant for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief during floods or any other natural calamity," PRO, Defence (Central Command), Gargi Malik Sinha told PTI.
On November 21, six Mirage and Sukhoi jets had presented airshow and conducted their maiden training on its 3.3 km long specially built runway in Unnao district near Kanpur. Then Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and then ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) president Mulayam Singh Yadav were present during the air show.
For October 24 exercise, a stretch of the 302-km long expressway would be closed for traffic during October 20-24. The training will help the IAF
pilots to get acclimatise to the landing and takeoff exercise using public highways/expressway during emergency or war situations.
According to the UP Expressway Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA), the incoming traffic for the closed stretch would be diverted to other highways.
The expressway was completed in record time of 23 months when it was inaugurated last November. However, several civil works, including the setting up of toll plazas and service lanes were still not complete. Some ground works on the expressway are still underway and it would take months for all these projects to be complete.
The expressway, which cost nearly Rs 15,000 crore was inaugurated on the eve of Mulayam’s 78th birthday, as was earlier promised by Akhilesh to his father. It was funded by the UP coffers and its individual's packages were bid for and awarded to private contractors for completion.
The 6-lane expressway, which can be extended to 8-lane, traverses 10 districts viz. Agra, Firozabad, Mainpuri, Etawah, Auraiya, Kannauj, Kanpur City, Unnao, Hardoi and Lucknow. It provides seamless connectivity between Lucknow and Agra via Yamuna Expressway.
Now, the Yogi Adityanath
government has proposed to develop 2,500 acres of land flanking the Agra-Lucknow Expressway as industrial hubs to boost economic activities and create jobs along its route and the peripheral regions.
The expressway stands as the most spectacular specimen of the projects undertaken during the previous Akhilesh regime and admired for its fast completion pace and minimal resistance and irritants from landowners during land acquisition.
Against the norm of invoking Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 for the mega infra project, the Akhilesh government had instead adopted ‘mutual agreement’ and enhanced compensation route to get land.
Consequently, it was easier for the authorities to acquire about 3,400 acres required for the project. The landowners were offered almost four times and two times the value of circle rate for land in rural and urban areas respectively. UPEIDA had acquired about 2,800 acres from 30,456 farmers across 232 revenue villages falling along its alignment, apart from 300 acres taken from government departments. This had collectively formed almost 92 percent of the total land requirement.