India improving infrastructure along China border, says Jaitley

arun jaitley
New Delhi, Nov 7: With China ramping up its infrastructure along the border, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley Friday said the government was taking necessary steps based on "strategic reality of the neighbourhood" and work was being carried out on 73 roads measuring 3,812 km along the border with China.

Addressing the first meeting of the consultative committee attached to his ministry since assuming charge as defence minister, Jaitley said India's immediate neighbours have already enhanced infrastructure in proximity to the borders.

He said the government has initiated several steps to overcome procedural delays and hasten the process of building roads in these critical areas.

Referring to the border with China, Jaitley said 73 roads having a length 3,812 km were being developed. He said 61 of these roads measuring 3,410 km were entrusted to the Border Roads Organisation (BRO).

He said the BRO had completed work on 17 roads measuring 590 km and work on the remaining roads was in different stages of completion.

He said the army has prioritised 22 roads and the ministry was monitoring the progress on road construction.

Taking part in the discussion, members of parliament belonging to various political parties expressed concern over delay in completion of border projects.

Some members suggested that the BRO should undergo a "transformational change" to convert it into a highly efficient organisation.

BRO Director General Lt. Gen. A.T. Parnaik said the completion of roads has been affected due to delays in obtaining forest/wildlife clearance, difficult terrain conditions, and limited working period in a year.

He said paucity of construction material and challenges posed by natural disasters were other factors leading to delay in border road projects.

He said efforts have been made to overcome these factors through greater coordination with the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF), modernisation of the BRO and induction of more units and resources.

An official release said Jaitley thanked the MoEF for easing environmental clearances.

He also complimented the BRO for their work in restoring road links during the recent floods in Jammu and Kashmir.

"BRO has been an effective initial responder in disaster management," Jaitley said.


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