BRO’s slackness unacceptable

Border Roads Organization is a prestigious organization entrusted with very crucial duty of constructing roads in sensitive areas like Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China in our Ladakh region. Generally construction of roads is divided into two classes. One is the roads that fall under normal development plans. be these annual plans or five-year plans. These roads are entirely the responsibility of the State Government and the Public Works Department. But Border Roads Organization is a Central Government organization working in border States and taking up only the border roads.  Obviously the task of this organization has an important component of advice or direction from the State Government right from the first step of identifying the road down to land acquisition, the route marking and final building stage. It means that there has to be clear understanding and coordination between the BRO authorities and the State Government authorities. Without this understanding, it may not be possible to get the desired results.
We have come to know that BRO has been too slack in fulfilling the task assigned to it in Ladakh region. About 12 roads were identified some years back which had to be built. Most of these roads are of strategic importance as these run close to the Indo-China border in Ladakh. While China has been building roads and link roads very fast on her side, we on our side have neglected nine out of 12 identified roads. This is despite the fact that funds had been provided by the centre and the roads were already identified. Non performance is attributed to the slackness and irresponsible attitude of the Border Road Organization authorities. It is true that building new roads is a project that has to be cleared by various agencies for many reasons like environment, conservation, security, feasibility etc. In particular when a road is desired to be built that passes through a notified region like game reserve or wild life sanctuary etc. various agencies become stakeholders and their clearance is a must. In the case of one of the nine left out roads in Ladakh region that connects Dungti with Damchok, a distance of about 80 kilometres and is of extraordinary strategic importance, the clearance of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, State Wild Life Board, State Forest Advisory Committee etc. was needed. The reason is that the road passes through Changthang region which is a Wild Life sanctuary.
Border Road Organization authorities generally put forward the reason for slackness and delay in completing these important projects that either the official permission from various agencies mentioned above is delayed or funds are delayed. But we may not buy this line of argument. Firstly, it has come to our knowledge that the BRO authorities never approached State higher authorities if and when they came across any obstruction in carrying on the road building work. There is no communication to suggest that the BRO has taken up with State authorities the issue of any difficulty on the ground in building the road. It means there is lack of communication between the two and that is not acceptable. That is why we said in the beginning that complete cooperation and understanding between the two agencies namely the BRO and the State Government authorities is the pre-requisite for completion of the pending roads. Secondly, we learn from our sources that funds for the projects had been sanctioned by the centre and the Defence Ministry had been insisting for last three years on the BRO to complete the construction of all pending roads in Ladakh because this was a dire need of our border security issue.
All stakeholders and the people know very well that weather conditions in Ladakh region are severe and there is only a small working season available to our workmen. This is a permanent feature and cannot be changed either be waiting or delaying the projects. Therefore the BRO has to draw a plan well ahead of time and complete its projects according to the plan. The plan has to be based on weather conditions and the equipment required beating the weather. The Chinese have built a network of roads on their side. Our troops are guarding the harshest region and they need to be facilitated in their work. The BRO needs to inculcate the sense of responsibility and national interests in completing the work in a sensitive region wherefrom we often have to face the threat of intrusion by an unpredictable adversary.
We believe that BRO realises the strategic and political importance of our border region in Ladakh. We know it is working under severe weather conditions and the jawans of BRO deserve appreciation. But what we find lacking is proper communication and interaction between its higher echelons and the State Government authorities. A chord of cordiality and cooperation needs to be struck between the two


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