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House panel raps Defence Ministry�s attitude

By Spl Correspondent

NEW DELHI, March 26 � Despite attaching top-most priority on developing infrastructure in border areas, India might still miss the deadline on completing the road projects near the Chinese border, even as the Defence Ministry was found wanting in keeping track of the construction projects across the border and has been rapped for its casual attitude.

Strategies have been re-worked and priorities attached on completion of road projects along the Indo-China border, in a bid to keep pace with the massive construction undertaken by Beijing. But the plans might fall short of expectation, if a Parliamentary panel�s report is anything to go by. It found the Defence Ministry at fault on several counts.

According to a Parliamentary Standing Committee report, the Ministry of Defence has not maintained any details and data about the activities going on in the borders. �This speaks volume of the casual attitude of the Ministry towards such an important matter concerning the security of the country,� the report said.

The committee recommended that it was utmost important to keep watch on the construction activities going on along the country�s border by different countries and maintain a data.

In response, Defence Minister AK Anthony in a statement regarding the status of the implementation of the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee, said a mechanism exists and Directorate General of Military Intelligence is one of the agencies responsible for keeping a track of all construction activities by neighbouring countries along the country�s border, monitoring developments in these areas and maintaining data.

Necessary steps have been taken to ensure that national security concerns are adequately addressed through development of infrastructure, including road, rail and forward airfield, as well as operational capabilities of the Army to secure desired national military objectives, Anthony said.

The Defence Minister has apprised the committee that the government has chalked out a Long Term Perspective Plan (LTPP). At least 116 roads of the total length of 3,765 Km have been identified, of which six roads with a length of 98 Km have been completed in the first phase.

The Border Road Organisation would complete 45 roads of 911 Km length by 2012. The BRO has planned to complete a total of 113 road with length of 2,878 Km by 2015 and the remaining part thereafter. The Centre plans to spend an estimated Rs 9,200 crore in the first phase.

Under Phase II of the LTPP, 188 roads have been identified with a total cost of Rs 15,255 crore. Currently, work on 11 roads of 876 Km length is under way.

The Defence Ministry further said that maximum efforts are being put on the 73 Indo-China border roads wherein 61 BRO units have been moved to Kashmir and 46 units to Arunachal Pradesh. In the last two years, the deficiency of manpower has been brought down to 12 per cent from 25 per cent.

The committee found a sense of complacency prevailed among the BRO officials and mentioned that the Defence Secretary admitted that they may not be able to meet the deadline of 2012.

The data regarding progress of the work indicated that of the total 277 roads, only 29 roads could be completed and work on 168 others were in progress.

The slow progress was attributed to delay in obtaining forest clearance, restricted fund flow till 2008-2009 and limited working season.

The Central Government has been facing uncomfortable questions over the massive construction undertaken by China in Tibetan Autonomous Region with plans to bring even Nepal within its rail network.

Though the western borders are fairly well connected, the Northern and Eastern borders are not as well connected, the Defence Ministry has admitted.

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House panel raps Defence Ministry�s attitude

NEW DELHI, March 26 � Despite attaching top-most priority on developing infrastructure in border areas, India might still miss the deadline on completing the road projects near the Chinese border, even as the Defence Ministry was found wanting in keeping track of the construction projects across the border and has been rapped for its casual attitude.

Strategies have been re-worked and priorities attached on completion of road projects along the Indo-China border, in a bid to keep pace with the massive construction undertaken by Beijing. But the plans might fall short of expectation, if a Parliamentary panel�s report is anything to go by. It found the Defence Ministry at fault on several counts.

According to a Parliamentary Standing Committee report, the Ministry of Defence has not maintained any details and data about the activities going on in the borders. �This speaks volume of the casual attitude of the Ministry towards such an important matter concerning the security of the country,� the report said.

The committee recommended that it was utmost important to keep watch on the construction activities going on along the country�s border by different countries and maintain a data.

In response, Defence Minister AK Anthony in a statement regarding the status of the implementation of the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee, said a mechanism exists and Directorate General of Military Intelligence is one of the agencies responsible for keeping a track of all construction activities by neighbouring countries along the country�s border, monitoring developments in these areas and maintaining data.

Necessary steps have been taken to ensure that national security concerns are adequately addressed through development of infrastructure, including road, rail and forward airfield, as well as operational capabilities of the Army to secure desired national military objectives, Anthony said.

The Defence Minister has apprised the committee that the government has chalked out a Long Term Perspective Plan (LTPP). At least 116 roads of the total length of 3,765 Km have been identified, of which six roads with a length of 98 Km have been completed in the first phase.

The Border Road Organisation would complete 45 roads of 911 Km length by 2012. The BRO has planned to complete a total of 113 road with length of 2,878 Km by 2015 and the remaining part thereafter. The Centre plans to spend an estimated Rs 9,200 crore in the first phase.

Under Phase II of the LTPP, 188 roads have been identified with a total cost of Rs 15,255 crore. Currently, work on 11 roads of 876 Km length is under way.

The Defence Ministry further said that maximum efforts are being put on the 73 Indo-China border roads wherein 61 BRO units have been moved to Kashmir and 46 units to Arunachal Pradesh. In the last two years, the deficiency of manpower has been brought down to 12 per cent from 25 per cent.

The committee found a sense of complacency prevailed among the BRO officials and mentioned that the Defence Secretary admitted that they may not be able to meet the deadline of 2012.

The data regarding progress of the work indicated that of the total 277 roads, only 29 roads could be completed and work on 168 others were in progress.

The slow progress was attributed to delay in obtaining forest clearance, restricted fund flow till 2008-2009 and limited working season.

The Central Government has been facing uncomfortable questions over the massive construction undertaken by China in Tibetan Autonomous Region with plans to bring even Nepal within its rail network.

Though the western borders are fairly well connected, the Northern and Eastern borders are not as well connected, the Defence Ministry has admitted.