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BRO to focus only on strategic infrastructure along China, Pak

The BROr will move out of Naxal-hit areas and from foreign assignments to focus on building infrastructure like strategic roads along the frontiers with China and Pakistan, Defence Minister AK Antony today said.



New Delhi: The Border Roads Organisation will
move out of Naxal-hit areas and from foreign assignments to
focus on building infrastructure like strategic roads and
airfields along the frontiers with China and Pakistan, Defence
Minister A K Antony Friday said.

"The government has told the Borders Roads Organisation
(BRO) that their priority task is to concentrate on strategic
roads, airfields, bridges and tunnels in the areas (along
borders with China and Pakistan)," he told reporters on the
sidelines of BRO`s golden jubilee celebrations here.

The BRO had announced that it would move out of the
National Highway-16 project passing through Naxal-hit
Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh to the border
areas by March next year.

Antony said the thinking in the past was to leave the
border areas underdeveloped so that it was safe, but now the
government had realised that it was a mistake and has taken
several measures to improve infrastructure.

The Defence Minister was replying to questions on the
poor infrastructure in Indian areas along the Line of Actual
Control (LAC) with China.

"The theory in the past was that it is better to keep
the border areas in an underdeveloped manner and it will be
safe. It is an old theory. It has caused a lot of damage," he
admitted.

"Now, in the last 2 years, the government is aware
that it is not a correct approach. For the last many years,
the government has taken many steps to develop the border
areas. Not only roads and airfields, but also electricity,
agriculture and healthcare areas are being developed," he
said.

The BRO would be deployed in interior areas for
infrastructure development work only after the border areas
were developed and government felt it was necessary to do so.

"At the moment, BRO is overstretched because it is an
efficient organisation and everybody wants its help. BRO has
to go to Afghanistan, Myanmar, Nepal and Bhutan and their
service is spread out to 14 states. Going everywhere is
creating problems.

"There is a limit to their capacity. BRO must
concentrate on its task of focused deployment of manpower so
that they are able to complete the strategic projects in a
time-bound manner. Now things are moving fast (in that
direction)," he said.

Speaking at the BRO function, Antony told his colleagues
that he had been in the Defence Ministry for long to
understand the difficulties plaguing various departments.

"For any organisation, there is a limit. You will get
tired. We cannot do more. Demands are coming from all states
(for road projects to be given to BRO). But we have told BRO
to concentrate on strategic roads, airfields and tunnels," he
said.

"BRO is not responsible for it (road projects in states),
but for border roads. India faces threat from various sources.
We do not know what will happen tomorrow. We are living in a
neighbourhood where many terrorist outfits operate. Armed
Forces need more support from BRO," he said, adding border
roads must be built on a war-footing.

Antony also told the BRO, which comprises of both Army
and its own personnel, to shed all "friction and bickerings"
and work as an extended mixed family.

"In a family it is possible to have some friction.
There are bickerings. We must find a solution. BRO is an
extended mixed family," he said.

Others present at the function were Minister of State
for Defence M M Pallam Raju, IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal P V
Naik, Army Chief General V K Singh, Defence Secretary Pradeep
Kumar, Highways and Road Transport Secretary Brahm Dutt, Army
Engineer-in-Chief Lt Gen A K Nanda and BRO Director General Lt
Gen M C Badhani.

PTI

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