New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday dedicated to the nation 35 strategic infrastructure projects of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), built at a cost of Rs 670 crore, during an event at Joshimath-Malari Road in Uttarakhand to bolster the operational readiness of the Army.
Out of these 35 projects, 29 are bridges and six are roads. Eleven of them are in Jammu & Kashmir; nine in Ladakh; eight in Arunachal Pradesh; three in Uttarakhand; two in Sikkim; and one each in Mizoram & Himachal Pradesh. These projects have been constructed under challenging weather conditions at the most inhospitable terrain.
In his address, the defence minister commended the BRO for strengthening the border infrastructure of the country and asserted that by constructing roads, bridges etc., the organisation is connecting the far-flung areas with the rest of the nation geographically, while also linking the hearts of the people residing in remote villages with the rest of the citizens.
He highlighted the government’s approach towards border area development which, he said, completely differs from the previous governments. “Other governments did not focus on development of border areas as they considered these zones as the last areas of the country. We, on the other hand, consider border areas as the face of India, which is why we’re ensuring that world-class infrastructure is created in these zones,” he said.
Mr Singh stressed that connectivity is being provided to every border area in the country through roads, bridges and tunnels, describing the work as not only of strategic importance, but also pivotal for the welfare of the people residing in these regions. “People living near the borders are no less than soldiers. If a soldier protects the country by wearing a uniform, the residents of border areas are serving the motherland in their own way,” he said.
He pointed out that the government has changed the approach adopted by previous governments that the border areas are buffer zones between the plains and the potential adversary. He emphasised that the present government considers border areas a part of the mainstream and not a buffer zone.