Helping hands: Residents from 11 Arunachal villages come forward to help Indian Air Force repair damaged airstrip

23rd Jan 2019
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In Arunachal Pradesh, villagers join hands with the IAF to spruce up Vijayanagar Advance Landing Ground, which is situated in a remote location and not connected with any motorable road.

The Indian armed forces have, over the decades, led rescue and recovery operations during disasters across the country. But here’s an instance where a few villages joined hands to help the Indian Air Force.

In 2018, the Indian Air Force decided to repair seven Advance Landing Grounds (ALGs) in Arunachal Pradesh. Manpower and machinery were pressed into service at all seven sites, but the ALG at Vijayanagar didn’t witness much progress due to the lack of road connectivity.

Vijayanagar
Villagers helping the Air Force in repairing the airstrip. Source Indian Express

The Vijayanagar ALG had been off the grid since 2016 as it wasn’t fit for any operation by fixed-wing aircraft. The only option to revive the runway was airlifting materials and manpower.

Seeing the armed forces struggling to reach the remote location, residents from nearby areas volunteered to fix the road, reports the North East Now.

The efforts of the villagers have brought them a lot of praise. Source Indian Express

In a conversation with the Indian Express, a defence official said, “People from 11 villages in Vijayanagar came forward, volunteering to help Air Force authorities to undertake this task by carrying out shramdaan (voluntary labour).”

The IAF’s repair work comprises cleaning the runway where grass and moss have grown due to the surface not being used for two years. Repair work is now under process, and necessary materials will be transported to the ALG in phases.

The ongoing joint efforts of the villagers and the air force have gathered a lot of praise from everyone. IAF officers said the villagers’ efforts are highly appreciated, and reflect the close connection between the civil population and the IAF at all places it operates.

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