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SOURCE: IANS

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday dedicated 75 strategically important infrastructure projects built by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in Ladakh. The 75 projects – 45 bridges, 27 roads, two Helipads and one Carbon Neutral Habitat- are spread across six states & two Union Territories (UTs).

Twenty of these projects are in Jammu & Kashmir; 18 each in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh; five in Uttarakhand and 14 in other border states of Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan. These strategically important projects have been constructed at a total cost of Rs 2,180 crore by the BRO in record time, many of which have been completed in a single working season using state-of-the-art technology.

Appreciating the grit and determination of BRO for achieving the feat despite challenging weather conditions, the Defence Minister pointed out that the projects will bolster the country’s defence preparedness & ensure economic development of border areas.

The highlight of the event on Friday was the onsite inauguration of 120-metre-long Class 70 Shyok Setu on D-S-DBO Road at an altitude of 14,000 feet. The bridge will be of strategic importance as it will facilitate the logistics movement of the Armed Forces.

Other projects inaugurated virtually by the Raksha Mantri include two helipads, one each in Hanle and Thakung, in Eastern Ladakh. These helipads will enhance the operational capabilities of the Indian Air Force in the region.

The BRO’s first Carbon Neutral Habitat at a height of 19,000 feet for its personnel was also inaugurated at Hanle. It is BRO’s effort towards contributing to Ladakh’s resolve of become the country’s first Carbon Neutral Union Territory.

The key features of this complex include the accommodation of 57 personnel and thermal comfort during extreme weather. It will enable BRO to operate efficiently during large parts of winter.

Speaking on the occasion, Rajnath Singh reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to ensure the progress of far-flung areas to fulfil the security needs of the country, stressing that infrastructure development, along with the valour of the Armed Forces, was the main reason that helped India to effectively deal with the recent situation in the northern sector.

“Our aim is to continue with the development of all states/UTs of the country. Soon, all the remote areas will be connected with the rest of the country and together we will take the nation to newer heights of progress. BRO has a crucial role in achieving this objective,” he said.

On the occasion, the Defence Minister also laid the foundation stones for Himank Air Despatch Complex being constructed in Chandigarh & a BRO Museum at Leh.

With the onset of winter, once the passes close due to heavy snowfall, BRO extensively utilises air effort for the movement of men, machinery and material to far-flung areas.

The existing Air Despatch sub-unit located at Chandigarh is being upgraded for providing comfort to transiting troops and to ensure efficient and uninterrupted delivery of essential stores and equipment for the execution of works on the ground.