Bangarmau: In a first for any road launch, six fighter jets of the IAF on Monday made a touchdown barely skimming the road before taking off to mark the opening of the Agra-Lucknow Expressway which can be also used for war-like emergency situations.
The 302-km-long six-lane expressway, which is India's longest, is expected to considerably reduce the travel time between Lucknow and Delhi which usually takes 12 to 14 hours.
The dream project of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav was inaugurated in Bangarmau by his father and SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav on the eve of latter's birthday.
Three Mirage 2000 and three Sukhoi-30 jets of the Indian Air Force(IAF) carried out the 'touch and go' on a portion of the newly constructed Expressway which has an RCC construction and reinforced and appropriately marked to facilitate aircraft landings. The portion used for the operations is located at Ganj Moradabad in Unnao District in UP.
The aim of the exercise is to check feasibility of Expressways being used as alternate airstrips in case of dire emergencies or non-availability of runways for any reason, a Defence official said.
Mulayam congratulated officials for completing the Expressway in a record two years time along with the chief minister who took personal interest in it.
"At the time of laying of foundation stone of the Expressway, I had asked as to when it will be completed and when four years were asked for its completion I had refused to lay the foundation stone. Later, however, it was done giving 22 months for completing it. The result is before everyone to see that today the road is ready in two years," SP chief said.
"Earlier, it used to take 12 to 14 hours to reach Delhi and now the distance will be covered in far less time. It will be very beneficial for the people," he said.
Akhilesh said the project would prove to be an example before the country as no other state had such a vast expressway. "Samajwadis will go to the polls on the back of such great work," he stressed.
"When roads are laid they lead to development...this road will connect capitals like New Delhi to Lucknow...it will have industries, petrol pumps and mandis along the route...on returning to power in UP, the SP government will take this expressway further till Ghazipur and Ballia in record time... it will connect one end of the state to the other," he said.
Thanking IAF officials, Akhilesh said this is the first road in the country on which any aircraft can land and take off.