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In ramp-up, 75% roads on China border ready

The proposed 11 roads, known as India-China Border Roads, will be located along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh. The BRO also plans to complete about nine more such roads by March 2021. It has set a target to complete 61 of the 73 ICBRs in three years. The balance 12 roads are with the Central Public Works Department.

Last Updated: Jan 20, 2020, 08.48 AM IST
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NEW DELHI: India is ramping up its infrastructure development along the border with China. The Border Roads Organisation has constructed 75 percent of the entire length of strategic roads along this border assigned to it, with plans afoot to finish 11 more by this year and nine more by next year, government officials said.

The new 11 roads, known as India-China Border Roads (ICBRs), that the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) plans to complete by March will be located along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh. The BRO also plans to complete about nine more such roads by March 2021. It has set a target to complete the 61 of the 73 ICBRs assigned to it in three years.

The balance 12 roads are with the Central Public Works Department. With such road development along the Chinese frontier, the BRO is making efforts to reduce the ‘differential’ or the distance between the closest Indian road along the LAC and the Chinese one across the border. This will allow the Indian forces to quickly mobilise in a particular sector during an untoward incident and counter any possible Chinese movements.

The BRO is also constructing 125 strategic bridges in different sectors of the LAC, including Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh. There are plans to construct 200 more bridges along this border.

Officials explained that the 61 ICBRs total a length of 3,350 km. “Seventy-five percent of this length has been completed, meaning they have been blacktopped. Twenty-five percent of the entire road length, about 850 km, is left for blacktopping. Ninety-nine of the road length has been connected and thereafter they will be blacktopped,” an official said.

“Eleven ICBRs will be completed by March this year. They are located in Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh. Nine roads will be completed by March 2021,” another official added.

Meanwhile, the Standing Committee on Defence in a report tabled to the Lok Sabha Speaker last month had recommended that bridges on the rivers in the North-East should be constructed at more than two places. “So in case of one bridge is swept away due to natural fury, other option can be exploited. This move will definitely help in reducing the distance for the natives as well as help the forces to reach places in time,” it had said.

There are also plans of constructing 19 tunnels along the frontiers with China and Pakistan with work having picked up pace on three important ones on the eastern front, as reported by ET. Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane earlier this month had said that force will focus on infrastructure development on the eastern front.

The BRO, however, is facing a shortage of funds, which has affected the construction and maintenance of bridges and roads and other developmental activities, according to the Standing Committee. It recommended that in view of the “atmosphere” in India’s neighbouring countries, the government must prioritise spending and develop infrastructure and roads so that the forces can have effective mobility troops and machine.

The Committee also pointed out that issues related to land acquisition, forest clearance and lack of quarries are causing delays in road construction. Adverse weather conditions, landslides, limited working season and insurgency affected areas compound this problem.

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