To match China, India fast-tracking border projects

New Delhi, May 7: With China making strides in building of infrastructure along the border, India is fast-tracking the construction of strategic roads in the North East and Ladakh, completing much of the work and aiming to finish "bulk" of projects in two years.

Border Roads Organization (BRO) Director General Lt Gen S Ravi Shankar said high priority is being accorded to these projects which are closely monitored at the highest level.

"We are responsible for maintenance of 15,000 kilometers of roads in border areas. We have also built 19 airfields and 36 kilometers of bridges on these important roads," he said.

About 63 per cent of work on 27 roads in Arunachal Pradesh and 12 in Ladakh is complete, he told reporters here.

"By 2013, we would be able to complete work on bulk of the roads. There cannot be a deadline for the last road as there are some very tough nuts to be cracked and we are trying to find the solution," Shankar said.

Asked whether environment clearances were creating obstacles in construction of these roads, he said, "We need to take forest clearance in some areas to widen roads or to construct roads in Gangtok (Sikkim) region. The local government has been helpful in sorting out these problems."

He said the BRO has been undergoing a restructuring process since 2007 and has purchased equipment worth Rs 200 crore.

Orders for equipment worth another Rs 166 crore will materialize in the next two to three years, Shankar said, adding with the help of improved equipment, BRO is now able to construct five kilometers of roads and nine metres of bridges every day.

BRO has also constructed roads in Bhutan, Mayanmar, Afghanistan and recently built a runway in Tajikistan.

This year the organization received a budget of Rs 5000 crore which it would be using to purchase state-of-the-art machines to negotiate roads in mountains and rugged hilly terrain, he said.

OneIndia News

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