BRO criticised for delayed road projects along Indo-China border

NEW DELHI :  China’s infrastructural development at the border areas was “unmatchable” with slow pace of projects on the Indian side of the border, panelists at a discussion on  Sino-Indian Border opportunities opined.    The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) would need a complete structural overhauling to accelerate the delayed road projects on the borders, they said.
The BRO, during the early 1960s worked “remarkably”, but lately, “it has virtually become defunct”, Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia (Retd) said during the discussion “Sino-Indian Border Infrastructure: Opportunities, Challenges and Imperatives”, organized here yesterday by the think tank Observer Research Foundation (ORF).
The BRO had a human resources issue with 38 per cent of the workforce not trained to work in higher altitudes, he claimed. Apart from restructuring the organisation, some of the projects on the eastern and western sectors of the India-China border could be given to National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), he added.
Mr R P Rajagopalan, author and senior fellow at ORF, said China has completed 40,000 km road network in Tibet while an equivalent road network was missing in northeastern states and Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir.
The organization had drawn flak only last year from the then Defence Minister A K Antony for lagging behind in majority of 73 strategic road projects in northeastern states.     Recently, the BRO has come under the scanner for its 23-year delay in completing a 226-meter long bridge in Sopore in Jammu and Kashmir.
Apart from criticising the BRO, the panelists voiced concern over some provisions in Land Acquisition Bill and environment laws, which they felt were proving to be a roadblock in getting approval for new infrastructure projects in border areas. They also urged the Government to engage private construction companies in completing strategic roads.    The panelists, during the discussion chaired by Arunachal Pradesh Governor Lt Gen Nirbhay Sharma, (Retd), expressed the hope that new Union Government, just like it has taken a step in relation to Planning Commission and issued a warning to DRDO, would take steps to reform BRO and solve other pressing issues in the border areas, especially along the China border. (AGENCIES)

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