In a massive push to strengthen border security, especially along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China, India on Tuesday announced completion of several strategically-important projects and also embarked on construction of a series of other massive infra initiatives that will not only enhance the operational preparedness of the Armed Forces but also ensure the socio-economic development of the far-flung regions.
Inauguration of the Nechiphu Tunnel in Arunachal Pradesh and the Nyoma airfield in eastern Ladakh were among the 90 infrastructure projects of Border Roads Organisation (BRO) worth over Rs 2,900 crore – spread across eight states and three Union Territories – that were dedicated to the nation by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh from Jammu’s Samba on Tuesday.
These include 21 new roads, 64 bridges, one tunnel, two airstrips, and two helipads, these 90 projects are in Arunachal Pradesh (36); Ladakh (26); Jammu and Kashmir (11); Mizoram (five); Himachal Pradesh (three); two each in Sikkim, Uttarakhand and West Bengal; and, one each in Nagaland, Rajasthan and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
90 Projects including Nechiphu Tunnel will be dedicated to the Nation by Hon’ble Raksha… pic.twitter.com/KW5xV597Qr
— 𝐁𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐞𝐫 𝐑𝐨𝐚𝐝𝐬 𝐎𝐫𝐠𝐚𝐧𝐢𝐬𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 (@BROindia) September 12, 2023
When it gets fully operational, the Nechiphu Tunnel at an altitude of 5,700 feet will provide safe and all-weather strategic connectivity on the Balipara-Charduar-Tawang (BCT) Road in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh.
Along with the Sela Tunnel – one of the most vital and strategic projects in the region – the Nechiphu Tunnel will accommodate two-way traffic and will be equipped with modern lighting and safety facilities till strategic Tawang region on the China border.
According to the Defence Ministry, the unique 500-metre-long ‘D-shaped’, single tube double-lane tunnel has been conceived to bypass extreme foggy conditions prevailing around Nechiphu Pass which have caused hindrance to general traffic and military convoys since many decades.
It has also been provided with a state-of-the-art electro-mechanical system including firefighting devices, auto illumination system and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) controlled monitoring systems and will accommodate raised footpaths on both sides for safer pedestrian movement which will have ducts for power cables, optical fibre cables and utility lines to strengthen the civic amenities infrastructure.
On Tuesday, Defence Minister Singh also hoped that the BRO will soon set another unique record with the construction of the world’s highest Shinkun La Tunnel at an altitude of 15,855 feet. The tunnel will connect Lahaul-Spiti in Himachal to the Zaskar Valley in Ladakh and provide all weather connectivity.
Calling it a ‘game-changer’ for the Indian Armed Forces, Singh also virtually laid the foundation stone of Nyoma airfield – one of the world’s highest – in Eastern Ladakh, right next to the LAC. To be developed at a cost of approximately Rs 200 crore, the airfield will boost the air infrastructure in Ladakh and augment Indian Air Force’s capability along the Northern border.
Located at a height of 13,000 feet in the Ladakh Sector, the Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) at Nyoma witnessed the first landing of a fixed-wing aircraft – an AN-32 aircraft – back in September 2009.
At the event organised at 422.9-metre-long Devak Bridge on Bishnah-Kaulpur-Phulpur Road, which too was inaugurated by Singh on Tuesday, Defence Minister also threw open the revamped Bagdogra and Barrackpore airfields in West Bengal. These airfields, reconstructed at a cost of over Rs 500 crore, will not only bolster the preparedness of the IAF, but also facilitate commercial flight operations in the region.
Singh compliemented the BRO for completing the construction of these strategically-important projects in record time, most of them in a single working season using state-of-the-art technology.
“Together with BRO, we are ensuring that the nation is secure and border areas are developed. Timely completion of infrastructure projects in far-flung areas has now become the new normal of new India,” he said.
Inauguration of several BRO infrastructure projects from Samba, Jammu. https://t.co/OsaYtqh1Sn
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) September 12, 2023
Spotlighting that the BRO has constructed infrastructure projects in several countries such as Myanmar and Bhutan, Singh emphasised that infrastructure development in border areas is not only effective for national security, but also promotes connectivity with a neighbouring country which functions with a spirit of co-operation with India.
The BRO revealed that with today’s inauguration, a record 295 infrastructure projects with an overall cost of approximately Rs 8,000 crore have been dedicated to the nation since 2021.