BRO told to speed up strategic roads

November 11th, 2011 - 9:45 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 11 (IANS) In the backdrop of Chinese military infrastructure build-up along the borders in recent years, India Friday told its premier border road construction agency to expedite works for strategically important roads, even as reports suggested that the projects were delayed.

At the meeting of Border Roads Development Board (BRDB) here, Minister of State for Defence M.M. Pallam Raju, who chaired the meeting, asked the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) to take up the issue relating to airlift of construction equipment to inaccessible places for road construction on a priority basis.

“Pallam Raju has called for speeding up the construction of strategic border roads. He was addressing a meeting of the Border Roads Development Board (BRDB) here today,” defence ministry officials said here.

“He also said that issues related to airlift of construction equipments to inaccessible places should be taken up on a priority,” they said in a press release.

The BRO has been trying to negotiate contracts with private operators to augment the airlift support provided to it by the Indian Air Force choppers after the latter expressed its inability to perform the role due to resource constraints.

Pallam Raju also stressed on the need for close coordination with the environment and forests ministry and the respective state governments to remove hurdles in the construction of vital border roads.

The environment and forests secretary, who was present, assured the meeting that all such proposals submitted by BRO would be handled on a priority basis.

A recent parliamentary report has noted with concern that border roads projects were being delayed due to red tape in environment clearances and non-availability of IAF helicopters for airlift of equipment.

The minister also called upon the BRO chief, Lt. Gen. S. Ravi Shankar to draw up a five-year perspective plan for the procurement of equipment for the force.

Senior officials from the army, air force, besides Planning Commission, the ministries of road transport and highways, home, and external affairs participated in the deliberations.

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