New Delhi, Dec 31: In a bid to boost India's border road connectivity especially along China, the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) will be entirely brought under the Ministry of Defence by the next budget.
Around 6,000-7,000 kms of non-sensitive roads in border areas will be handed over to the National Highways Authority of India, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said. BRO receives funds from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways but undertakes the tasks assigned by the Ministry of Defence.
The dual control of BRO is one of the principal reasons behind non-availability of funds and the organisation's not up to the mark performance, officials said.
"BRO will be brought fully under the Defence Ministry. There was lot of confusion because it was under two masters," Parrikar said, adding that the process would be completed by the next budget. In the last two years, BRO received more than Rs 110 crore less than what it wanted from the Road Transport Ministry.
Parrikar, in an interaction with journalists here last night, said, "Work ethics (in BRO) have to be improved". Road connectivity to border areas is a major force multiplier in conflict situations, as they are crucial for rapid troop movement and equipment mobilisation.
Incidentally, BRO has failed to meet the deadlines in 73 strategic road projects on the India-China border, cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security in June 2006.
The deadline to complete the 3,500-km road build up was 2012. But so far only over 500 kms of roads have been built, and the deadline has been extended to 2016.
On the question of a rail link along Sino-India border, the Minister said he will soon hold meetings with Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu.
On China's objections to infrastructure development in the border areas, Parrikar just said, "What we do on our side of the border is our business."