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Rajnath dedicates to nation 44 bridges built by BRO in seven States
New Delhi, October 13, 2020
Heralding a new era in the connectivity of roads and bridges in sensitive areas close to the western, northern and northeastern borders, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh dedicated 44 major permanent bridges to the nation through video conference on Monday.
The Minister also laid the foundation stone for Nechiphu Tunnel in Arunachal Pradesh.
These bridges are of strategic importance and provide connectivity to remote areas. The 44 bridges are spread over seven States and Union Territories (UTs), an official press release said.
Union Minister Jitendra Singh, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, Chief of Army Staff Gen M M Naravane and Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar attended the virtual ceremony in New Delhi.
Union Minister Kiren Rijiju, Chief Ministers of Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Sikkim and Uttarakhand, Lt Governor of J&K, with Members of Parliament, civil/military dignitaries along with members of the public at various sites in respective States and UTs attended through a video link.
In his address, Rajnath Singh congratulated the Director General and all ranks of Border Roads Organisation (BRO) for their achievements and said that dedication of 44 bridges in one go in itself was a record.
In the challenging times of COVID-19 and despite the border tensions and disputes caused by Pakistan and China, the country was not only resolutely facing them but also bringing about historical changes in all sectors of development under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he added.
He said these bridges improved connectivity in the far-flung areas of Western, Northern and North East sectors and fulfilled the aspirations of local people. They would also meet the transport and logistics requirements of the armed forces throughout the year, he added.
Roads and bridges are the lifeline of any nation and play a vital role in the socio-economic development of far-flung regions, he said. Reiterating the Central Government’s commitment to boost development activities in border areas, he said the progress of all projects was being regularly monitored and adequate funds provided for their timely execution.
The annual budget of BRO that varied from Rs 3,300 crore to Rs 4,600 crore in years 2008-2016, saw a substantial rise and was pegged at over Rs 11,000 crore in 2020-21. There was no reduction of this budget despite COVID-19.
The Minister also announced that the government has sanctioned high altitude clothing to BRO engineers and workers.
He laid the foundation stone of the strategically important Nechiphu Tunnel on the road to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. This 450 metre-long, bi-lane tunnel would ensure all weather connectivity across Nechiphu Pass besides providing safe and secure passage through accident-prone areas.
Briefing the dignitaries, Lt Gen Harpal Singh, DG, BRO, said the 44 bridges of various spans ranging from 30 metres to 484 metres are located in J&K (10), Ladakh (8), Himachal Pradesh (2), Punjab (4), Uttarakhand (8), Arunachal Pradesh (8) and Sikkim (4).
They are of strategic importance and have been designed to facilitate the movement of heavy civil & military traffic in border areas. These bridges will contribute towards the overall economic growth of remote border areas and will also assist in the speedy deployment of Armed Forces in strategically important sectors, he said.
In addition to expediting road construction, the BRO has laid special emphasis on the construction of bridges by completing 28 major bridges last year while 102 major bridges are being completed this year. Of these, 54 have already been completed. More than 60 Bailey Bridges have also been constructed by BRO to meet immediate requirements of armed forces and people living in remote areas.
BRO has worked relentlessly even during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic restrictions continuing with works of strategic importance like construction of major bridges and roads, Atal Tunnel, Rohtang, Sela Tunnel etc, and snow clearance for the opening of strategic mountain passes.
Despite unprecedented snowfall breaking a 60-year record, all strategic passes and roads were cleared for traffic about one month before their average yearly opening dates. This brought relief to people of border areas and ensured rapid and early movement of troops and logistics.