MUMBAI: Union Road Minister Nitin Gadkari on Friday said the government was working on a scheme under which highways in far-flung areas can be used for aircraft landings and take-offs, and airports can be made where none exist.

“Along with Defence Ministry, we are thinking on a proposal. We are making our national highways of cement and concrete. We can use them as airports and are identifying sites. The vehicular traffic will be stopped when an aircraft will be landing and once it leaves, the vehicle traffic will resume,” Gadkari said at an event by Forum for Integrated National Security (FINS) here.

He clarified that the plan was to use the highway network to handle both civilian and military aircraft movement. The discussions are being held with the Defence Ministry because many of these sites can be near the border areas, he said.

Even as he declined to disclose the sites which can be used for such aircraft movements or the number of such sites, Gadkari cited pockets in Arunachal Pradesh, which can benefit from such an arrangement.

He added that the traffic was also low in Arunachal Pradesh which can easily facilitate the flight movements as is being envisaged. When asked if the roads will be able to take the aircraft, Gadkari said a majority of the new highways are being built of cement and concrete, which can comfortably take such loads.

It can be noted that a few years ago, the Indian Air Force had landed one of its frontline fighter aircraft on a highway in north…

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