India to have network of strategic roads by 2013

The idea came up against the backdrop of Chinese infra build-up along the Sino-Indo border.

Delhi: Against the backdrop of Chinese
infrastructure build-up along the Sino-Indian border, a senior
military official today said India would develop a network of
strategic roads in the North-East and Ladakh region by 2013.

"By 2013 we would be able to complete work on bulk of
the roads. There can not be a deadline for the last road as
there are some very tough nuts to crack and we are trying to
find the solution," Border Roads Organization (BRO) Director
General Lt Gen S Ravi Shankar told reporters here.

About 63 per cent of work on 27 roads in Arunachal
Pradesh and 12 in Ladakh are complete, he said, adding that
these are high priority roads closely monitored at the highest

On whether environment clearances were creating
obstacles in construction of these roads, Shankar said, "We
need to take forest clearance in some areas to widen roads or
to construct roads in Gangtok (Sikkim) region. The local
government has been helpful in sorting out these problems."

He said the BRO has been undergoing a restructuring
process since 2007 and has purchased equipment worth Rs 200
crore. Orders for equipment worth another Rs 166 crore will
materialize in the next two to three years, he added.

With the help of improved equipment, BRO is now able to
construct five kilometers of roads and nine metres of bridges
every day.

"We are responsible for maintenance of 15,000
kilometers of roads in border areas. We have also built 19
airfields and 36 kilometers of bridges on these important
roads," he said.

BRO has also constructed roads in Bhutan, Mayanmar,
Afghanistan and recently built a runway in Tajikistan.

This year the organization received a budget of
Rs 5000 crore which it would be using to purchase
state-of-the-art machines to negotiate roads in mountains and
rugged hilly terrain, he said.


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