Agartala, Jan 31 (IANS): The Indian government has given top priority to constructing strategic roads along the China border, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said here on Saturday.
"The government has been trying to withdraw different units of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) from various northeastern states to mobilise them along the border with China as the construction of roads there is tagged as highest priority," Sarkar said.
He added: "Withdrawal of the BRO units from different northeastern states affects construction and widening of national highways and border roads in various states in the region."
According to the chief minister, following the pressure from the Tripura government, the union government has recently agreed to keep the BRO units in the state to widen the existing Assam-Agartala national highway and its extension up to the border town of Sabroom.
"Union Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrasekhar has also intervened in the matter following the Tripura government's request," Sarkar said.
"As the Bangladesh government has already agreed to allow India to use the Chittagong port, about 75 km from Tripura's southern border town of Sabroom, the extension, development and widening of National Highway-44 up to Sabroom are very crucial," Sarkar stated.
Indian government has also started preliminary works to construct a 150-metre-long bridge over the Feni river in Sabroom to facilitate transportation with the Chittagong international sea port.
The chief minister recently met BRO director general Lieutenant General M.C. Badhani and discussed the upgrading of border roads and national highways.
"The BRO chief told me that despite their highest commitment to build strategic roads along China, they would consider taking up the maintenance and development of border roads with Bangladesh," Sarkar said.
"Northeast in general and Arunachal Pradesh in particular have been given the highest importance for the development of road and bridge infrastructure. Around 2,770 km of roads, including border roads with China, are in various stages of construction by BRO," an official told IANS on condition of anonymity.
Arunachal Pradesh shares a 1,030-km unfenced border with China.