New Delhi: Nearly 90 projects were inaugurated Tuesday — mostly along the border with China — including the Nechiphu Tunnel in Arunachal Pradesh and the Nyoma Advanced Landing Ground in Eastern Ladakh, which will become the world’s highest airfield.
Besides these two projects, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated two airfields in West Bengal, two helipads, 22 roads and 63 bridges across the border areas, especially along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China.
At an event in Jammu Tuesday, Singh inaugurated and laid the foundation of the infrastructure projects of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), worth over Rs 2,900 crore and spread across 11 states and Union Territories.
Of these, 36 are in Arunachal Pradesh, 26 in Ladakh, 11 in Jammu & Kashmir, five in Mizoram, three in Himachal Pradesh, two each in Sikkim, Uttarakhand and West Bengal and one each in Nagaland, Rajasthan and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
In order to ramp up border infrastructure and facilitate seamless connectivity for the military in forward areas, BRO has been constructing roads on India’s border adjacent to China.
One of the most awaited was Nechiphu, the 500-metre long tunnel on Balipara-Charduar-Tawang Road in Arunachal Pradesh, located at an altitude of 5,700 feet.
This will improve connectivity to the strategic Tawang sector in West Kameng district, a contentious area along the LAC.
This tunnel, along with the under-construction Sela Tunnel, seeks to provide all-weather connectivity.
Last year, the BRO completed the excavation of Nechiphu tunnel under “Project Vartak”. The D-shaped tunnel accommodates two-way traffic. The tunnel will help reduce the road distance by seven km of a stretch known to be heavily foggy.
The defence minister also virtually laid the foundation stone of Nyoma Airfield in Eastern Ladakh. This airfield, to be developed at a cost of approximately Rs 200 crore, will boost the air infrastructure in Ladakh and augment IAF’s capability along the northern border.
With today’s launches, a record 295 infrastructure projects of the BRO, at an overall cost of approximately Rs 8,000 crore have been dedicated to the nation since 2021, the defence ministry said.
In 2022, 103 projects worth approximately Rs 2,900 crore were inaugurated while in 2021, the number was 102 projects at Rs 2,200 crore.
Speaking on the occasion, amid the fear that large-scale construction in the mountains were impacting the environment, Singh said the focus should be on developmental activities, with equal emphasis on environment protection.
“Till now, we have worked with the mantra of ‘minimum investment, maximum value’. Now, we need to move forward with the mantra of ‘minimum environment degradation, maximum national security, maximum welfare’,” he added.
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