India will take infra right up to LAC with China: Rajnath

Sanjeev Pargal

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh with top ITBP and other officers at one of the forward BOPs along LAC with China on Wednesday.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh with top ITBP and other officers at one of the forward BOPs along LAC with China on Wednesday.

JAMMU, Sept 23: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today declared that India was committed to build infrastructure right up to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China in Ladakh sector and provide latest and modernized weaponry and other equipments to the paramilitary Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), guarding the treacherous and mountainous LAC with China in Leh.
Addressing top Commanders of ITBP during his visit to forward posts in Leh before winding up his three days visit to mountain locked district, Singh said the Central Government has already initiated steps to build road link right up to the LAC with China and connect Ladakh with rest of the country round-the-year by constructing tunnel at Zojila.
“Our priority is to provide surface connectivity to our jawans right up to the LAC by constructing 1425 kilometers road length to facilitate easy movement of the jawans along the China borders and strengthen their communication network. We are working on this. The work for road construction will be expedited and we will try to provide surface road network to our troopers up to their posts as early as possible,” he said.
Pointing out that the ITBP has been guarding 3488 kilometers of border with China, the Union Home Minister said he has met and inter-acted with a number of ITBP officials and jawans and was happy to see their courage and valour with which they were performing their duties under extreme adverse weather conditions.
“The ITBP jawans have been doing excellent job. Now it becomes our duty to fulfill their requirement that we will do”.
Rajnath Singh said the Central Government wants to provide round-the-year surface road link to Ladakh for which the measures have already been taken by the Union Surface Road Transport Ministry by constructing tunnel to Zojila.
“Strengthening infrastructure and providing latest weapons and gadgetry to the troops manning the LAC with China is always our priority. We will fulfill all requirements of the trooper,” the Union Home Minister said.
Rajnath Singh was scheduled to fly and visit by road to Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO), Track Junction, Murgo Burtse, Chungtash, Chusul and Chumar Border Out Posts (BOPs) during two and half days visit to Ladakh yesterday and today but couldn’t do so due to adverse weather conditions. He then visited Loma, Gungti and Tagyarmale BOPs by road along with ITBP Director General Krishan Choudhary and inter-acted with the field commanders of ITBP and held detailed inter-action with the jawans, who were manning the posts in tough weather conditions but with very high morale.
Rajnath, who travelled about 400 kilometers to cover three BOPs during eight hours journey in the mountains by road and perhaps became the first Home Minister to spend night at Dungti BOP in the forward areas with ITBP jawans, also had inter-action with local people at Hamiya and Army personnel at Chumathang.
He assured Army and ITBP personnel apart from the civilians that no stone will be left unturned to improve their living conditions by strengthening infrastructure including road network, which was in worst condition at some places, and provide them other facilities.
Sources said the people told the Union Home Minister that previous Government had done nothing to improve infrastructure in Ladakh, which was the reason that India lagged far behind China, which has taken rail and road right up to the LAC, giving advantage to their troops. However, Rajnath is reported to have assured the people that India will soon match the strength of China.
Rajnath said his visit to Leh was an amazing learning experience for him.
“On reaching Tagyarmale post, I had the firsthand account of the situation near the LAC,” he said. The ITBP jawans were thrilled to have the Union Home Minister amidst them. They also shared their harsh and treacherous working conditions and freely expressed their experiences with the Union Home Minister.
“Our ITBP jawans are working in extremely harsh and inhospitable conditions. I salute the ITBP jawans & officers for their courage, steadfastness and their indomitable spirit to conquer all odds,” he said.
Rajnath interacted with the jawans at Tagyarmale BOP last night and Dungti BOP this morning. On his return to Leh, he had a detailed interaction, with ITBP personnel and assured them that he will do his best to see that the “Him Veer” or “Him Putra” as he called the ITBP personnel, get all necessary assistance and care from the Government since they are committed for the safety and security of the country.
He also lauded the role of ITBP in participating in the Swachh Bharat and clean Ganga Programme started by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Earlier, on the first day of visit, Rajnath had visited the ITBP camp at Samba in Jammu region. Addressing the jawans, he had said that terrorism, infiltration and border transgression should be stopped by the neighbours for better relations with India.
Krishna Chaudhary, Director General of ITBP thanked the Union Home Minister for sparing three days out of his busy schedule for visiting forward areas being serviced by ITBP. He said that the entire ITBP family is extremely happy as the last night spent by the Union Home Minister with the jawans at the Dungti BOP has raised their level of confidence and morale to take up their assignments more effectively.
Meanwhile, three key roads in Ladakh which give access to security forces to several strategic locations, including Siachen, will soon be constructed with Home Minister Rajnath Singh ordering expeditious completion of the work.
The directive was given after the visit of the Home Minister to Ladakh region where he had a first-hand experience about the difficult life in inhospitable terrain in the icy heights of Himalayas along China border.
The roads connecting Leh-Demchok, Chuchul-Luma and Durbuk-Trijunction, which leads to the Siachen base camp, will be constructed as early as possible, official sources said.
All other roads having strategic importance will also be expeditiously constructed as the Home Minister has given necessary directions to concerned agencies.
Singh, who spent two nights, including one at ITBP border post Dungti, located at an altitude of 13,648 feet above sea level, also ordered construction of infrastructure for improving mobile telephone network in the region.
The Home Ministry’s project for construction of 27 roads for the movement of troops of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), which guards the Sino-Indian border, has been very slow as only three roads have been built till last year end.
The roads are to be constructed along the border in Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Uttarakhand.
The plan envisaged construction of 804 km of roads and the project will cost an estimated Rs 1,937 crore. However, just 200 km of the road has been constructed so far.
Singh commended the role played by the ITBP saying it is not only guarding the borders but also protecting India’s assets in countries like Afghanistan.
The Union Home Minister said that he will try to clear “within days” the proposal of setting up of 8 battalions of ITBP, 40 border posts, 12 subsidiary posts and 12 staging camps.
On communication front, he said the Government has given approval for mobile towers to 34 BOPs and that work has started on setting up of mobile towers.
“I was telling your DG that I do not want to make only promises to you,” Singh said.
“There is a problem of road connectivity in these areas. I have knowledge of this. There is also problem of communication along the borderline,” the Home Minister said, adding that in 2008, construction of 804 kilometers of road length along India-China border was approved but due to some reasons, 804 kilometers road length could not be constructed but 191 km road length has been set up and work is on for the rest (613 kilometers) of the project.
“In second phase, we have decided to construct 812 km of road length,” he added.
He said he also feels that jawans of ITBP should get better equipment and there is scarcity of large number of facilities which should also made available to them.
“The biggest problem on Sino-India border is road connectivity…. “I want to assure you… I am always committed to removing your difficulties because you are guarding the Indo-China border”, the Home Minister said.


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