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29 bridges, six roads in border states build at a cost of Rs 670 cr

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The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has completed 35 infrastructure projects at a cost of Rs 670 crore, which include 29 bridges and six roads built in seven border areas which were on Friday inaugurated by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

Of these 11 are in Jammu & Kashmir, nine in Ladakh, eight in Arunachal Pradesh, three in Uttarakhand, two in Sikkim and one each in Mizoram and Himachal Pradesh.

While inaugurating these, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that these projects have been constructed under challenging weather conditions at the most inhospitable terrain.

The Defence Minister highlighted the government’s approach towards border area development which, he said, completely differs from the previous governments.

He said, “Other governments did not focus on development of the 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 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. He said, “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.”

Rajnath Singh pointed out that the government has changed the approach adopted by the 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.

“There was a time when the border infrastructure development was not given much importance. The governments used to work with the mentality that the people living in the plains are the mainstream people. They were worried that the developments on the border might be used by the adversary. Due to this narrow mentality, development never reached the border areas. This thinking has changed today. Under the leadership of PM Modi, our government is committed to the development of border areas, keeping in view the Nation’s security needs. We do not consider these areas as buffer zones. They are a part of our mainstream,” he added.

Referring to the large migration from the border areas in Uttarakhand, Rajnath Singh termed it as a matter of concern. He said the Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers are taking the schemes related to infrastructure development to the last person as the aim is to cover the development journey from the seas to the borders.

He also drew attention to the increasing number of natural disasters in some border states and UTs, including Uttarakhand, Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim in recent years, stating that many experts believe that climate change is the reason behind these incidents. He called climate change as not just a weather-related phenomenon, but a very serious issue related to national security. “The Ministry of Defence is taking this very seriously and will seek cooperation from friendly countries in this regard,” he added.