Airlift capabilities for road construction to be outsourced: Raju

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Shillong, Sep 30 (UNI) The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has decided to outsource airlift capabilities to enhance the road infrastructure network in the North Eastern States.

''Airlifting of men engaged in road and bridges constructions, besides equipment and other resources, has been accorded priority for constructing strategically important roads in remote and high altitudes in the region,'' Union Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju told reporters after the first meeting of the Border Roads Development Board, an apex body governing the functioning of BRO, here today.

The Ministry decided to outsource airlift capabilities especially for fixed winged aircrafts.

He said under the SARDP-NE in Phase-A, ten roads with a total length of 721 km estimated at a cost of Rs 2,350 crore, are presently under construction in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland. The BRO is also likely to implement more than 2,000 km for improvement under SARDP Phase-B.

He added that the BRO will take up the construction of 1,050 km trans-Arunachal highway out of the total 1,850 km road project announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his visit to Arunachal.

The Trans- Arunachal highway was aimed at providing inter-basin double lane connectivity starting right from Tawang to the South Eastern district of Arunachal Pradesh.

''The development of border roads in Arunachal Pradesh is not necessarily due to the Chinese threat. The development of borders in that state is to facilitate trade with South East Asian Countries,'' Mr Raju said.

When asked, the Union Minister of State for Defence admitted that militancy had hampered the construction of roads and bridges in certain areas of the North Eastern states.

''It is not only in North East, our men are facing the militancy problem and some of them have even lost their lives due to insurgency activities in Jammu and Kashmir and Chattisgarh,'' Mr Raju said.

He, however, said due to the presence of Territorial Army, the militant activities, including kidnapping and extortions, could be contained to a certain extent.

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