Construction of a 3.5-kilometre air strip along the Srinagar-Jammu national highway in Anantnag district has fuelled speculations that the emergency landing strip was being constructed in response to the stand off between Indian and Chinese armies in Ladakh region.
However, defence officials said there was no link between the stand off in the Ladakh region and the construction of the emergency landing strip in Bijebhara area of south Kashmir.
"This is a project being constructed by the National Highway Authority of India and had been planned since last year. It has nothing to do with the Ladakh incident," a defence official said here on Thursday.
The official said the emergency landing strip was part of the operational requirements and several such strips have been constructed across the length and breadth of the country.
Civil administration officials also said the air strip was an old project and the work going on for it was stopped before the onset of winter.
The work was resumed recently and as the lockdown for curbing the spread of coronavirus was in place, special passes had to be issued to the work force for ensuring their smooth movement to the project site, the officials said.
There are at least two full fledged Indian Air Force air bases in Kashmir with one located less than 15 kilometres from Bijbehara, where the emergency landing strip in coming up.