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19 ‘strategic roads’ at Sino-India border completed: Parrikar

19 ‘strategic roads’ at Sino-India border completed: Parrikar
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Nineteen roads with total length of 625 kilometres have been completed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) at the Sino-Indian border. This was stated by the Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar in the Lok Sabha, on Friday.

A total of 73 roads were identified as strategic roads on the border with China. Of that 61 roads with a total length of 3,410 kms were apportioned to the BRO for construction by 2012. But the road construction projects have faced major time over-runs, by which only those 625 kms have been built till date.

On another 24 roads, connectivity has been achieved, though the building process has not been completed. Causes for the delay have been found to be delays in “forest and wildlife” clearances from the ministry of environment and forests; “limited work seasons” due to extreme winter conditions; “difficulties in availability of construction material;” “natural disasters like the flash floods in Leh in 2010, Jammu and Kashmir flood in 2014, and earthquake in Sikkim in 2011 that caused diversion;” “Delay in land acquisition;” and finally hard rock stretches that made it tough for the roads to be laid.

Fresh targets for the border roads are 16 to be built in 2015; 13 in 2016; nine in 2017; two in 2018; and two beyond 2018.

The defence minister, Parrikar informed the House that chief secretaries of the border states have been asked to form empowered committees under the chair-personage of the secretaries of departments as members to resolve issues of land acquisition, forest and wildlife clearance, allotment of quarries etc.

Meanwhile, the ministry of environment and forests has given the general approval under the Forest Conservation Act, 1980, to divert forest land required for construction and widening of roads to be built by the BRO in the area falling within 100 kms aerial distance from the Line of Actual Control. For link roads, clearances have been given for border roads in the area within 100 kms aerial distance from the LAC and national and state highways, besides other roads.
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