BRO to complete 2 roads near China border, start work on world’s highest tunnel | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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BRO to complete 2 roads near China border, start work on world’s highest tunnel

ByRahul Singh
May 07, 2024 05:38 PM IST

The Banga-Janga-Gompa–LJG Road in Arunachal will be ready to support military movement by year-end while connectivity between Munsiyari & Milam in U’khand will be achieved by July 2024

The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) is set to complete the construction of two key roads in Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand to boost connectivity to forward areas near the China border even as it prepares to begin work on the Shinku La tunnel (the world’s highest) to provide all-weather connectivity from Manali to Leh via the Nimmu-Padam-Darcha axis, officials aware of the matter said on Tuesday.

The two roads are among the 61 strategic roads assigned to BRO near the Chinese border. (File photo)
The two roads are among the 61 strategic roads assigned to BRO near the Chinese border. (File photo)

The developments come at a time when the military standoff between India and China in eastern Ladakh has entered its fifth year, with no indication of a resolution to the outstanding problems along the contested Line of Actual Control (LAC) although India is hoping ongoing negotiations will help restore the status quo ante of April 2020.

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The Banga-Janga-Gompa–LJG Road in Arunachal Pradesh will be ready to support military movement by the year-end while connectivity between Munsiyari and Milam in Uttarakhand will be achieved by July 2024, the officials said.

The two roads, expected to be fully blacktopped in a year, are among the 61 strategic roads assigned to BRO near the Chinese border in Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. Most of these roads have been completed, HT has learnt.

BRO has completed 330 projects at a cost of 8,737 crore in the last three years, and significantly improved the strategic mobility of the Indian armed forces along the border.

“BRO will soon commence the construction of the 4.1-km long Shinku La tunnel. Once completed, this tunnel will become the world’s highest tunnel at 15,800 ft, surpassing Mila tunnel in China at 15,590 ft,” the defence ministry said in a statement on Tuesday, which marked BRO’s 65th raising day.

The Centre has given the Forest (Conservation) Act clearance for construction of the strategic tunnel, one that will bypass the 16,615-ft high pass, Shinku La, connecting Ladakh to Himachal.

The route via Nimmu-Padam-Darcha axis will provide the third connectivity option to Ladakh. The tunnel will cut the distance between Manali and Leh by 60 km, bringing it down from 355 to 295 km. It is an alternative to the Manali-Leh-Kargil route. Leh can also be accessed from the traditional Srinagar route.

Racing to reshape the strategic landscape of Ladakh, where China’s predatory conduct and military ambitions have led to the lingering border spat, India is also on the verge of completing an ambitious project to provide much-needed alternative connectivity to Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO), India’s northernmost military base near LAC.

Also Read: Manali-Leh all-weather road: Shinku La tunnel gets forest clearance

The construction of the 130-km road from Sasoma in the Nubra Valley to DBO near the Karakoram Pass is now in its final phase.

The existing 255-km Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldi (DS-DBO) road runs close to LAC. Sasoma and Darbuk can be reached from Leh via two different road axes.

At a function organised to mark BRO’s raising day, defence secretary Giridhar Aramane lauded the organisation for fulfilling its responsibilities in inhospitable terrain and tough weather conditions.

He called BRO an extremely crucial organisation which, through its infrastructure projects in border areas, is playing a major role in the security of the country, besides ensuring the socio-economic progress of far-flung areas.

BRO chief Lieutenant General Raghu Srinivasan the organisation’s pan-India presence reflected its commitment to national security, connectivity and development.

Since its inception, BRO has constructed 62,214 km of roads, 1,005 bridges, seven tunnels and 21 airfields along India’s borders as well as in friendly countries, including Bhutan, Myanmar, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, and contributed to the nation’s strategic objectives, the ministry statement said.

In 2023-24, BRO completed 125 infrastructure projects worth 3,611 crore, including the Sela tunnel in Arunachal Pradesh.

In March, Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated the Sela tunnel project to the country, with the infrastructure upgrade putting in the fast lane military mobility and logistics support for deployed forces in the strategic Tawang sector, where Indian soldiers hold posts close to the contested border with China.

“Over the few years, BRO has witnessed an exponential surge in budgetary expenditure, marking a remarkable leap forward in capabilities and impact. This increased budgetary support has empowered the organisation to undertake crucial projects, accelerate critical infrastructure development, and enhance its operational readiness,” the statement added.

BRO is set to complete by October 2024 the construction of a 2.7-km runway at the Nyoma airbase in Ladakh, a milestone in one of the most important ongoing projects near the China border.

Allied infrastructure at the Nyoma airbase, including hangars, the air traffic control building and hard standing (hard-surfaced areas for parking vehicles and aircraft) will be ready by the end of next year.

The 218-crore project, whose foundation stone was laid by defence minister Rajnath Singh last September, is spearheaded by a crew of BRO women officers.

India’s border infrastructure push has been propelled by speedy execution of strategic projects to support military operations, increased spending, and focussed adoption of technology and techniques.

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