Jodhpur: Non-availability of land to the Indian Air Force and delay in the process of handing over of the identified land have emerged as major slowdowns in the expansion projects, a senior official said.
Be it expansion of the existing Air Force stations or setting up intermediary training field, both have been hit on account of the lack of adequate land.
In the South West Air Command (SWAC), the matter of land for the expansion of the Air Force stations of Jodhpur and Pune is yet to be resolved. Similarly, the process of land identification for setting of the Intermediary Training Field at Deesa air base is dragging its feet, the official said.
"We are in need of additional land for the expansion of Jodhpur and Pune air stations. The matter in both the cases is between respective state governments and the Ministry of Defence," the Air Officer Commanding in Chief (SWAC) Air Marshal B S Dhanoa told reporters here, ahead of the President's visit for presentation of President's Standard to 21 Squadron and 116 Helicopter Unit on March 4.
He said that many of the stations had been set up long back and now they have fallen victim of the growing urbanisation and are now surrounded by civil habitation.
"With the fast-changing war techniques, emergence of new challenges and the pressing need of replacement of obsolete technology to the newer one, we need more space," Dhanoa said.
Referring to the land issue of Jodhpur Air Force station, he said the station is fully equipped but for further expansion and modernisation, there is a drastic need for more land.
Like Pune, Jodhpur station also shares the operation of civil flights and after agreeing to transfer its 37 acre land to the civil airport authority, the Air Force is awaiting replacement of this land and little more for its own use.
The then Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne had said during his visit of Phalodi air base in January 2013 that this training field will enable air force to enhance the intake of youth willing to join Indian Air Force and had expected to overcome this shortage of 560 pilots in 4-5 years. Even this project is awaiting the identification of suitable land till date.