Historic Badangi airstrip to be reactivated by Navy | TOI Nov 7, 2013, 05.45 AM IST BADANGI (VIZIANAGARAM): The eight-decade-old Badangi airstrip, one of the oldest airstrips in the state which is lying neglected, is all set to get a facelift soon as the Indian Navy is planning to reactivate the strip near Bobbili, chief of naval staff Admiral Devendra Kumar Joshi confirmed here on Wednesday. Admiral Joshi, who was in Visakhapatnam for the induction ceremony of the Hawk Mk132 advanced jet trainer (AJT) aircraft, said that to cater to the growing security needs of the country , the Navy is looking at developing an alternative airfield on the eastern sea board at Badangi near Bobbili. "The project will be taken up in consultation with the civil administration and the local population for acquisition of land and other matters," Admiral Joshi told newspersons on the sidelines of the induction of the AJT. According to Admiral Joshi, most of the assets and infrastructure of the Navy were set up in the 1940s during independence, which is why due to the growing security needs there is a need to look for additional bases. "The Indian Navy has plans to set up additional bases on the West Coast as well as the East Coast and Badangi base is part of this strategy," he said. Eastern Naval Command Flag Officer commanding-in-chief Vice admiral Anil Chopra said that though the Navy has inducted a large number of aircraft at Visakhapatnam, they do not have an airfield closer than Hyderabad or Bhubaneswar. "If an emergency situation arises, it will be useful for us to have an alternative base, which is why we are looking at reactivating Badangi airfield as an alternative," Vice admiral Chopra said. The Indian Navy had prepared a proposal to reactivate the World War II airstrip a couple years ago and is now actively considering using it as an alternative airstrip for future needs as it has been planning to station a squadron of the frontline fighter MiG 29K aircraft at Vizag. Sources said a master plan has been prepared for the upgradation of the airstrip, where no maintenance work has been done for decades together. Apart from renovating the airstrip, the Indian Navy has proposed to add some facilities to aid aircraft landing. The defence authorities have already requested the district administration to establish a base for not only training purpose but also for emergency usage. The airstrip was used as command base for Royal Air Force (RAF) by the British for moving their troops across the region during World War II. Spread over 221 acres, the airstrip was one of the biggest RAF bases then. It has a control room, separate underground armament depot and several bunkers. Once the war was over, the airstrip was shut down in 1946 and the Food Corporation of India (FCI) used it to store paddy and wheat for some time. A part of the defunct airstrip has also been encroached upon by some local farmers, who have been cultivating paddy there.