The lack of infrastructure development in Jammu and Kashmir for decades post-independence was one of the reasons behind the rise of terrorism in the union territory, defence minister Rajnath Singh said as he dedicated to the nation 75 infrastructure projects built by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in Ladakh on Friday.
The 75 projects – 45 bridges, 27 roads, two helipads and one carbon-neutral habitat– are spread across six states and two UTs. Twenty of these projects are in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), 18 each in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh, five in Uttarakhand and 14 in other border states of Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan.
“Lack of infrastructure development in J&K for decades post-independence was one of the reasons behind the rise of terrorism in the UT. These internal disturbances resulted in a significant decline in tourist footfall that impacted Ladakh also, as well as the entire nation. Now, due to the government’s efforts, the region is witnessing a new dawn of peace and progress. Our aim is to continue with the development of all states/UTs of the country. Soon, all the remote areas will be connected with the rest of the country and together we will take the nation to newer heights of progress. The BRO has a crucial role in achieving this objective,” Singh said at a function organised at D-S-DBO road in Ladakh.
Singh also said the people living in border areas are “our strategic assets”. “Infrastructure is being rapidly developed in border areas. We can’t say enough in praise for BRO for the work they have done here,” Singh added.
Strategically important projects
> The strategically important projects have been constructed at a total cost of ₹2,180 crore by the BRO in record time, many of which have been completed in a single working season using state-of-the-art technology.
> Appreciating the grit and determination of BRO for achieving the feat despite challenging weather conditions, the defence minister pointed out that the projects will bolster the country’s defence preparedness and ensure the economic development of border areas.
> The highlight of the event was the onsite inauguration of 120-metre-long Class 70 Shyok Setu on D-S-DBO Road at an altitude 14,000 feet. The bridge will be of strategic importance as it will facilitate the logistics movement of the Armed Forces.
> Other projects inaugurated virtually by Singh include two helipads, one each in Hanle and Thakung, in Eastern Ladakh. These helipads will enhance the operational capabilities of the Indian Air Force in the region.
> The BRO’s first carbon-neutral habitat at a height of 19,000 feet for its personnel was also inaugurated at Hanle. It is BRO’s effort towards contributing to Ladakh’s resolve of becoming the country’s first carbon-neutral union territory. The key features of this complex include the accommodation of 57 personnel and thermal comfort during extreme weather. It will enable BRO to operate efficiently during a large part of winter.
> On the occasion, Singh also laid the foundation stones of Himank Air Despatch Complex being constructed in Chandigarh and a BRO Museum at Leh.
> With the onset of winter, once the passes close due to heavy snowfall, the BRO extensively utilises air effort for the movement of men, machinery and material to far-flung areas. The existing air despatch sub-unit located at Chandigarh is being upgraded for providing comfort to transiting troops and to ensure efficient and uninterrupted delivery of essential stores and equipment for the execution of works on the ground.
> The BRO will be undertaking the construction of the new complex at Chandigarh by incorporating the latest 3D printing technology and once completed, the building will boast of being the world’s largest 3D Printed Complex.