All efforts being made to improve infrastructure in border areas: Antony

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New Delhi, May 11 (ANI): Defence Minister A K Antony on Tuesday said the Central Government has authorized Border Roads Organisation (BRO) to outsource the job of airlifting machinery and material to difficult terrains, as the assets of Indian Air Force in this regard is overstretched, adding that the government is contemplating to set up another organisation to take care of roads in other areas.

Antony said the BRO has also been directed to focus on strategic infrastructures in border areas and not to diffuse their resources in other states for the time being.

"Today, the BRO is in the process of considerable transformation and modernisation. There are many important projects in various stages of implementation. It will be our endeavour to see that BRO's capabilities are in consonance with India's strategic and developmental requirements," said Antony, while giving details of the steps taken by the government at a meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee attached to his Ministry.

"We have decided to outsource air efforts, especially through rotary wing for carrying of necessary equipment, plants, materials and manpower," he added.

Cutting across party lines, the Members of Parliament complimented BRO, which celebrated its Golden Jubilee last week, for their dedication and contribution to national security.

They suggested that the Government should take immediate steps to remove all bottlenecks such as environmental clearance, budget and manpower to accelerate the work in the border areas.

They also wanted that the Service condition of the workers and officers of BRO should be improved substantially.

Antony said the Ministry has made substantial headway in resolving forest clearances for the projects with the cooperation and support of respective State Governments and the Ministry of Environment and Forrest.

"Quality control set up and vigilance mechanisms have been strengthened to bring about improvement in work standards, ethics and transparency in the organisation. Manpower needs are being further augmented by recruitment of officers through Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and other staffs through Ground Reserve Engineering Force (GREF) Centre, Pune," said Antony.

The Defence Minister hoped that these steps would infuse more dynamism into the organisation so that it can achieve its targets.

Currently, BRO has been entrusted with the construction of 61 India - China border roads with a total length of 3,429 kilometers and has a Long-Term Perspective Plan Priority - I (LTTP-I) for construction/development of 130 roads with a total length of 4,881 kilometers.

LTPP-II comprises 255 roads with a total length of 10.104 kilometer and an all-weather road to Leh as well as 8.8 kilometer long Rohtang Tunnel.

The Members of Parliament, who attended the meeting included Naveen Jindal, Shivaji Adhalrao Patil, Brijbhushan Sharan Singh, Harsh Vardhan, Rakesh Singh NSV Chitthan, Lalit Mohan Suklabaidya, SS Ramasubbu and Gopal Singh Shekhawat.

Ram Chandra Khutia, Nand Kishore Yadav, Balwant Alias Bal Apte, Veer Singh, Dr. Mahendra Prasad and HK Dua were those present from the Rajya Sabha.

Minister of State for Defence MM Pallam Raju, Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar, Secretary Defence Production Rajkumar Singh, Secretary DRDO Dr VK Saraswat and Secretary Defence Finance Indu Liberhan were also present at the meeting. (ANI)

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