* BRO told to report progress every 3 months to Defence Ministry
* Parliamentary panel exposes poor infrastructure on Chi border
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, May 18: Aiming to speed up infrastructure projects along the Chinese border, the Defence Ministry has asked the Border Roads Organization to report to it every three months about the progress of the projects.
The progress of the works will be reviewed by the Defence Secretary, official sources said.
Among the key projects New Delhi wants to speed up include various road, rail and tunnel projects, besides making the defunct Advanced Landing Grounds (ALGs) functiol.
There are six ALGs in Aruchal Pradesh currently not functiol due to various problems like encroachment and lack of maintence. These ALGs have 1200-metre runways and can be revamped for use of both military and civil aircrafts.
This apart, the Defence ministry is also looking into the possibility of building missile-resistant tunnels in Aruchal Pradesh.
The fresh prod by the Centre on border infrastructure came after a report by a parliamentary committee that highlighted the pathetic infrastructure on the Indian side of the border as compared to the Chinese.
“In case of war, the (Indian) Army cannot reach Tawang area in a day. While our neighbouring country can reach the border within two or three hours, our Army takes more than a day to reach there. This is a matter of great concern with regard to our defence preparedness,” the parliamentary standing committee on defence has observed recently, describing the situation as “dismaying”.
It had also noted that the BRO is faced with “an acute shortage” of manpower, vehicles and requisite machinery.
“In order to compete with our neighbouring countries, especially Chi, BRO must have the latest, state-of-the-art equipment,” it had said.
The rate of progress of border infrastructure works has been dismal over the decades.
Only 19 of the 73 “strategic” all-weather roads (which add up to 3,812 kms) identified for construction along the LAC for better troop mobility almost a decade ago, have been fully completed till now.
The ministry of Defence now plans to build 16 of the strategic India-Chi border roads this year. It plans to build another 13 by 2016, nine by 2017, two by 2018, and the rest thereafter.