New Delhi, July 1: For those who think the recent Uttarakhand disaster to be a serious domestic crisis, they are yet to get the full story. The unprecedented calamity that struck the Himalayan state in mid-June has, besides killing thousands, erased all important roads and bridges that are key for the mobilisation of troops and arms to the Sino-Indian border in case there is an emergency.
India had a diplomatic row with the Chinese over the latter's alleged violation of the border in Tibet and more recently, Indian media reported that the Chinese were also making intrusion in Bhutan.
New Delhi has, hence, valid reasons to feel worry and beef up security at the borders with the northern neighbour, but the Uttarakhand disaster could play a major role in thwarting its plans to tackle potential Chinese adventurism. Army sources have said that rebuilding the key defence infrastructure could take months even if it's done on a war footing. Till then, the army will have to remain
According to a report published in The New Indian Express, in the Pithoragarh-Tawaghat sector, the stretch between Jauljibi and Muniyari has been damaged at 26 locations, resulting in higher reaches like Bugdir and Milam completely cut off by
The Darchula-Sobla stretch has also been hit at nearly 70 locations. The road stretch has been completely ruined and needs to be rebuilt for the army to transport heavy artillery, said the report. The Border Roads Organisation is in charge of getting roads repaired.
Army sources said the actual cost involved in rebuilding the roads and bridges in the flood-ravaged state can not be assessed anytime soon. The impact of the destruction is still being examined and it could easily run into hundreds of crores. The work on laying five strategic roads in Uttarakhand is already running slow and the destruction of 16 major roads and five big bridges have worsened the situation.
India lags much behind China in terms of border infrastructure along the Line of Actual Control. The Chinese, on the other hand, has worked on improving their border infrastructure, particularly strategic roads, on a priority basis, for fast mobilisation of troops in case of a border flare-up. The Chinese have laid a road almost touching Mana Pass in Uttarakhand while the nearest Indian road is 35 kilometres away.
Are the Congress and BJP listening?