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July 15, 2014

Army chief and Transport Minister launch joint push to fast-track north-east's border roads

Indian Army chief General Bikram Singh met Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday in an attempt to speed up the construction of a road network along the border in northern and northeastern parts of the country.
The NDA government has been keen on a fast-tracking the programme to develop border infrastructure and is willing to cut through red tape by stepping on the accelerator.
The Transport Ministry has not been happy with the performance of the Border Road Organisation (BRO), and a performance audit of the specialised construction body has been ordered.

Earlier, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said he would ensure that green laws did not come in the way of projects to develop border infrastructure.
The Ministry has said that projects within 100km of the Chinese frontier will get fast approvals.
Around 4,000 miles of roads in the northern and northeastern areas are awaiting environment clearance.
Gadkari has claimed that he was not satisfied with the work of the BRO as projects have been pending in New Delhi for several years.

He refused to accept difficult working conditions as an excuse for delays. Gen Bikram Singh's meeting with Gadkari came ahead of a scheduled visit by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley to Arunachal Pradesh, which borders China.
Jaitley is expected to tour the crucial northeastern state at the end of the Budget session. Arunachal Pradesh shares 1,080km of border with China and 400km with Myanmar.
The lack of a road network in the state has been causing problems for the local population. Officials said the people have been moving away from the border because of lack of infrastructure.
An area of 100km from the border has been exempted from environmental clearance in a move that is expected to speed up creation of infrastructure.
The BRO has to build 61 strategic roads and has spent Rs 3,877.52 crore of the Rs 4,336.88 crore released for the work.
Of the 503 stretches of roads to be built, only 17 are ready for use. Work is underway on only 50.
At least 33 of the 73 road projects which have to be completed in a time-bound manner are in the northeast and the remaining are in the north and middle sectors of the border with China. 
 - Dailymail

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