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Northeast Today

Army Races to Build Strategic Roads to China Border

Army Races to Build Strategic Roads to China Border
May 15
12:39 2017

A Himalayan task is staring at the Indian Army as it needs to finish the key portions of three strategic roads leading to the China border before the onset of monsoon, which will put a screeching halt for the next six months to all construction activities in the Northeast region.

The Border Security Force has put all the resources at its command to meet the targets, which the military road builder set for itself for the year, with the Indian Air Force as well as the Army actively helping it to meet the daunting task.

At present, three axis are planned for construction to establish all-weather connectivity up to Tawang, where the situation is so critical that the Army cannot reach to many difficult terrains in a day, in case of war, while the People’s Liberation Army of China can reach borders within two or three hours with a robust infrastructure at its command.

The pathetic state of infrastructure in this side of the border came in sharp focus last month, when Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, visited the Tawang Valley, which left China sulking and after effects of the visit were still being felt in the bilateral ties.

The work was progressing on Balipara-Charduar-Tenga-Tawang road, which is the one of the main axis of the three roads. Under the 317.28 km project commenced in May 2015, the formation of 192.73 km stretch has been completed, while the surfacing of 145.74 km is under progress, sources in the Army told UNI.

The road stretch of 50 km passes through Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh and Nameri Tiger Reserve in Assam, the main stumbling blocks for the project. The terrains in the Valley are posing difficult challenges for the BRO as heavy equipment, including bulldozers and cranes, required for the road construction in the mountain region cannot be taken in one part.

The IAF choppers were carrying out daily sorties to ferry these equipment after being dismantled in many parts. All the construction activities were said to be monitored by the Prime Minister’s Office directly, with the Narendra Modi Government advancing the deadlines to 2018, which was earlier set for 2020.

The work on the alternate axis, which is Orang-Kalaktang-Rupa-Shergaon-Morshing-Phudung-Mandala-Debrabu-Naga GG-BJ Gompa-Lagamche GG-Mukto-Teli-Bomdir-Tawang, was also progressing on the war footing. ‘The work on Orang-Shergaon is under development of the National Highways Development specification, while the stretch of Shergaon-Naga GG is under maintenance,’ said the sources.

The third axis of Pinjoli-Buragaon-Dibbin-Mathow-Tungri-Chhangla-Pangila-Pota-TselaMago Road has already been operationally endorsed by the Army and works will be taken up, once the construction of main axis is completed, they said. A long spell of six-month monsoon will make the construction work extremely hazardous as mountains in this part of the region are said to be highly elusive.

With environment clearance coming faster under the Modi Government, the progress on the strategic road projects have seen a remarkable progress, but the challenges posed the nature remain insurmountable. ‘Heavy rainfall will trigger landslides and long stretches of the newly constructed roads may not survive the fury,’ said an official, who is monitoring the project and reporting to the progress to New Delhi.

He said considering the fact that Tawang area was of critical importance to the security of the nation, no effort is spared in ensuring completion of the construction of the roads in a phased and timely approach.

-UNI

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