Residents of 11 villages near Vijaynagar in Arunachal Pradesh have offered their services as ‘shramdaan’ (volunteer labour) to spruce up a disused airstrip to enable the Indian Air Force (IAF) to get it operational again.
The Vijayanagar Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) is situated in a remote corner of Arunachal Pradesh and is not connected with any motorable road. The ALG has not been fit for operations by any fixed-wing aircraft since 2016.
Indian Air Force has taken up a project to repair the ALG and land aircraft as part of its operational needs in the east. For the repairs, all the material and manpower has to be airlifted to Vijayanagar.
An IAF spokesperson said that the repair work involves cleaning of the surface of the runway which has accumulated grass and moss due to non utilisation over a long period of time.
“This task required a large number of people as it is manpower oriented. In a move that is unprecedented, people from 11 villages of the local areas of Vijayanagar volunteered to help air force authorities to undertake this task by carrying out ‘shramdaan’ (volunteer work). The repair work by the specialised team has already commenced and the material is being transported to the ALG in phases,” he said.
IAF officers say this move by villagers is highly appreciated and it reflects the close connection that the civil population has with the IAF wherever it operates.