New Delhi, September 6
Aiming to match the Chinese infrastructure across the Line of Actual Control (LAC), Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is scheduled to lay the foundation stone for an Indian Air Force base in eastern Ladakh’s Nyoma on September 12.
The Border Roads Organisation (BRO), under the Ministry of Defence, would build the project at an estimated cost of Rs 214 crore within two years. Nyoma, located at an altitude of 13,700 feet on the banks of the Indus, is some 180 southeast of Leh. It is a naturally flat area and is being used by helicopters and special operation planes such as C-130J that can land on mud-paved runway. The aim is to have a fighter jet base that can launch and recover planes, and also carry out minor maintenance jobs.
The site is spread over 1,235 acres where a 2.7-km runway with allied military infrastructure will come up. Rajnath will, the same day, formally inaugurate the Nechiphu Tunnel on the strategically vital 329-km Tezpur-Tenga-Bomdila-Tawang route that leads to the LAC in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh. Nechiphu Tunnel is at an altitude of 5,700 feet and is conceived to bypass extreme foggy conditions prevailing around Nechiphu Pass, which had been hindering the smooth flow of general traffic and military convoys for decades. The tunnel is part of a plan to rapidly deploy troops and weapons along the LAC. Apart from the Nechiphu Tunnel, two more tunnels under Sela—a 13,700-ft-high Himalayan massif—are being constructed on the same 329-km route to the LAC.
The Nyoma airbase and the Arunachal tunnel are part of the BRO’s 90 infrastructure projects that Rajnath would dedicate to the nation on September 12. The ceremony would be carried out at Devak Bridge in Jammu where the minister would inaugurate a 422-metre bridge on the Bishnah-Kolpur-Phulpur road in Jammu and Kashmir, said an official.
Rajnath will also inaugurate the reconstructed and revamped airfield at Bagdogra and Barrackpore in West Bengal. Bagdogra, in north Bengal, is the closest base to Doklam plateau on the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction. China is disputing the boundary alignment and India and China have had a military stand-off in 2017. These airfields have been reconstructed at a cost of Rs 529 crore. The minister will also inaugurate 22 roads and 63 bridges. Of these, 11 are in J&K, 26 in Ladakh, 36 in Arunachal, five in Mizoram, three in Himachal Pradesh, two each in Sikkim, Uttarakhand and West Bengal and one each in Nagaland, Rajasthan and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
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