Decks Cleared For Kargil Airbase Expansion

Decks Cleared For Kargil Airbase Expansion

20 November 2012
Rising Kashmir
Wasim Khalid

Srinagar: Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Kargil has cleared decks for construction of the largest air base in North India by granting 6000 Kanals of land to Indian Air Force. The villagers were objecting to procurement of land stating that no cultivable land should be used for the purpose. “We had a long meeting with villagers and air force officials regarding the construction of the airbase. LAHDC along with administration and respected people of the area took residents into confidence and granted ‘No Objection Certificate (NOC)’ to Air Force,” Chief Executive Councilor of LAHDC, Kargil, Kachoo Ahmad Ali Khan told Rising Kashmir. “We have given NOC to air force some 15 days ago. We have demarcated land for the airport and legally handed it over to them. They would be starting work on the project soon.” Kachoo said the air force was demanding 18000 kanals of land, but LAHDC granted only 6000 kanals of land. “This would be in addition to the 6000 Kanals which is already lying with Air Force in the existing airfield so the new airfield would be extended and constructed on the total of 12000 kanals of land.” He claimed that the land allotted to Air Force was barren and it does not include any cultivable land. LAHDC further said that the runway of the airfield would be increased from 6000 ft to 12000 ft which would allow big aircrafts to land on the surface. Asked as to how the airport would prove beneficial for the residents, Kachoo said the extension of airfield would allow at least a Boeing aircraft to land in Kargil. However, with the airport close to Line of Control, LAHDC said the danger of attack was always lurking. “It’s a strategic runway also. But the danger of vulnerability would not be always there,” Kachoo said. LAHDC, Kargil said they have already provided army 1,20,000 kanals of land in Kargil for defence purposes. “After Kargil war a full fledged GOC sits in Kargil. There are additional four brigades of army stationed there. We have provided this much land to them.” The Kargil airbase is strategically located 20 kilometers from LoC. As reported earlier by this newspaper, alarmed by the growing influence of China in northern areas of Pakistan-administered Kashmir and occasional “aggressions” on eastern borders of Ladakh, Indian Air Force is planning to develop Kargil airbase as one of its largest air stations in North India by acquiring 6000 kanals of land from LAHDC, Kargil. “Apart from aiding two fronts (India and China border) by supplying military equipments to them, the Kashmir corridor at its south would be helpful to feed the Kargil airbase with logistical needs in case of emergency,” sources said. They said in order to ensure round-the-year connectivity of Kargil with Kashmir, Border Roads Organization will construct two tunnels each of 5 kilometer and 13 kilometer length through Zojila pass. The Indian Army had raised concerns over the presence of Chinese men including troops of People's Liberation Army of China in PaK. There have been occasional Chinese incursions in Ladakh region as well on the eastern side of Line of Actual Control (LAC). The upgradation of military facilities were started after India felt threatened from its eastern and western front in Ladakh region