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Slow pace of roadworks causes concern

By Rasheed Kappan



Work in progress on the Bellary Road leading to the Yelahanka Air Force Station. — Photo: K. Bhagya Prakash

BANGALORE, FEB. 4. With barely four days to go for the grand international aerospace exposition `Aero-India 2005,' the Bellary Road leading to the Yelahanka Air Force Station still remains in the repair mode.

Barring a bypass from the Allalasandra railway gate to Yelahanka which might be completed before the show launch, vast stretches of the road threaten to put the brakes on the heavy visitor traffic.

Traffic chaos had overshadowed the last edition of Aero-India in 2003. Unending traffic jams had dulled the airshow's glitter.

This year, despite the opening of the Hebbal flyover, the traffic threat remains potent.

With the show organisers estimating a turnout of about 40,000 people — a substantial growth over the last airshow — the traffic police will have a big job on their hands, said an IAF official, voicing his frustration over the slow pace of the roadworks.

The bypass will be the only silver lining in the authorities' drive to clear up the road leading to the venue of the show.

On Friday too, the National Highway Authority of India asphalt-laying vehicles were busy readying the stretch.

The bypass avoids the crowded Yelahanka market and the railway crossing. Road repair work at some points progressed briskly.

But it was apparent that February 9 was too close for the road to be ready in time. A bridge close to the bypass looked like it will take another six months to be in good shape.

Briefing

At the Air Force station, pilots of all the participating aircraft were briefed by officers of the Air Traffic Control, meteorological section, disaster management, and other senior IAF officers.

The briefing is mandatory for all pilots before they are permitted to fly at the aerial displays, a crucial part of the airshow.

The officers cautioned the pilots against crossing the foul line and violating the height restrictions.

Any pilot going against the rulebook will be called down and debarred from flying anymore without further warning, they were told.

According to the aerial display schedule finalised on Friday, the Sea Harriers, the Mid-Air Refuellers, the Suryakirans, the Sarang, Akash Ganga, intermediate jet trainer, Lancer helicopters and the Light Combat Aircraft will start flying from day one — February 9.

But the American fighter aircraft, F-15 did not figure in the schedule. Nor did the Chetan, the re-engined Chetak helicopter unveiled recently by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. or the Orion PC-3 aircraft.

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