Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in style to inaugurate the brand-new 341-km Purvanchal Expressway in Uttar Pradesh. Modi used the Indian Air Force Hercules C-130J military transport plane to land near Sultanpur, where the inauguration ceremony took place.
After Modi’s arrival in the Hercules, IAF conducted an airshow and used the expressway to take off as well. The expressway that stars from Chaudsarai, in Lucknow district ends at village Hydaria near the UP-Bihar border.
The six-lane wide expressway can be expanded to 8-lane in the future when the traffic rises. According to the official data, the Purvanchal Expressway is constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 22,500 crore. The design of the expressway is such that it can be used as a landing strip for aircraft during an emergency situation. We are not sure if any special design is incorporated to ensure that a plane can land safely on it.
It is an access-controlled expressway, which means it will be free of commuters and will ensure the safety of the vehicles that will travel at a high speed. Narendra Modi, during his inauguration speech also said that he never thought that he will land on a plane on this expressway three years after laying the foundation.
Before Prime Minister’s arrival, Air Force pilots did rehearsals and used the emergency landing strip as well. According to reports, the emergency landing strip is about 3 km long and will be able to accommodate the landing of different kinds of planes including the large ones. According to the news reports, there are now three emergency landing strips in Uttar Pradesh, which is the highest number for any state at the moment.
Not the first time
This is not the first time that a plane has landed on the national highway. In the past, different state governments showcased the similar ability of the expressways to become emergency landing strips whenever required. In 2017, the first fighter plane landed on the Yamuna Expressway. In Rajasthan, Nitin Gadkari, MoRTH and Rajnath Singh, Defense Minister landed in Barmer on the expressway in the same Hercules C130J. While there are many expressways throughout the country, the trend of landing on the expressway to inaugurate it has started recently.
During the 45 minutes airshow following Prime Minister’s landing, various fighter planes like the Rafale, Mirage and Sukhoi did an air show for the political guests who were present at the inauguration.