IAF chopper carries cardamom after farmers protest

The villagers on Saturday joined hands and voluntarily cleaned the ALG to help the IAF renovate it quickly for landing a transport aircraft.

An IAF helicopter on Thursday transported cardamom produced by farmers in Arunachal Pradesh's Vijaynagar, a day after locals prevented the chopper from landing at the Advance Landing Ground (ALG).

Residents of Vijaynagar, situated at 4,000 feet in Changlang district bordering Myanmar, on Wednesday prevented a helicopter from landing after the IAF reportedly refused to transport their goods.

Vijaynagar doesn’t have a motorable road yet, and over 4,000 residents depend on the IAF's service for essentials. Otherwise, they have to trek 157 km to reach Miao town bordering Assam.

IAF spokesperson based in Shillong, Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh, however, blamed miscommunication about a request by the Arunachal Pradesh government for use of the chopper to transport goods of the civilians on Wednesday.

“Military aircraft are meant to only carry out military operations, which include transportation of military personnel and goods. We carry civilians and their goods only when the need arises — on the requisition of the state authorities. But due to some miscommunication, the request for the same did not reach us, and so the service could not be provided yesterday (Wednesday). But today the normal operation with IAF goods meant for renovation of the Vijaynagar Advance Landing Ground (ALG) was restored and goods of the civilians were also transported based on a request from the administration,” Singh told DH.


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The IAF's transport aircraft AN-32 used to carry essential items to Vijaynagar mainly from Jorhat in eastern Assam, but the service was stopped in 2016 due to the poor condition of the ALG.

The villagers on Saturday joined hands and voluntarily cleaned the ALG to help the IAF renovate it quickly for landing a transport aircraft. Sources said the villagers offered the service on the condition that they be allowed to transport their goods such as cardamom to markets in Assam. But they got angry on Wednesday when the IAF refused their request.

Of the seven ALGs in Arunachal Pradesh, which remained abandoned since the 1962 Sino-Indian war, six have been upgraded recently by the IAF for both defence and civilian uses in Tuting, Mechuka, Along, Wallong, Ziro, Tawang and Pasighat. Work on Vijaynagar is underway.

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IAF chopper carries cardamom after farmers protest

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