Work on critical roads along China border stalled


New Delhi : Construction of at least eight roads of critical importance along the India-China border in the northeast has been stalled due to problems of forest clearance, an official said here Tuesday.

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“There is a definite endeavour on our part to lay more emphasis on the Indo-China border. We are raising more units that will be placed there. We are hiring more equipment. But there are problems like forest clearance,” Border Roads Organisation (BRO) Director General Lt. Gen. A.K. Nanda said.

BRO sources said the work on eight to 10 roads had been stalled.

“About 3,400 km of roads to be developed along the border have been identified as critical and our endeavour is to develop them in a time-bound manner,” Nanda said, speaking at a press conference on the eve of the 48th raising day of the BRO.

Nine of the 61 roads to be constructed in the northeast region have been completed and eight are scheduled to be completed this year.

“We plan to finish construction of all roads by 2012,” Nanda said.

Besides forest clearance, a major impediment in early completion of the projects in the northeast, especially in Manipur, is militancy.

“Recently, militants set two of our vehicles on fire. Fortunately, they let off the drivers,” Nanda said.

Landslides and low supply of construction material is proving to be another hindrance in the construction of the roads in the region, Nanda said.

Around 27 roads are being constructed in Arunanchal Pradesh, the state which China has refused to recognize as part of India.

The roads are aimed to ensure that Indian troops near the border have the same facilities as their Chinese counterparts.

At present, soldiers at several forward positions depend on supplies transported by animals or on air-drops. None of this can be a round-the-year activity, especially during the rainy season. The roads would ensure that soldiers have better accommodation than now.