Rajnath Singh to unveil six bridges in J&K

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SRINAGAR: Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will unveil six critical bridges constructed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in Jammu & Kashmir on Thursday, sources said.

The Defence Minister will unveil four bridges in Akhnoor sector and two in Jammu-Rajpura area constructed at a cost of Rs 45 crore. “All bridges are around 300 to 100 metres approximately,” said a senior Defence Ministry officer.

On Tuesday, Singh held a review meeting with Border Roads Origination (BRO) officials to discuss the improvement of infrastructure near Line of Actual Control with China and Line of Control with Pakistan. The review meeting took place amid the ongoing border tension with China.

“Defence Minister Rajnath Singh reviewed the ongoing projects with DG BRO (Border Roads Organisation) and other senior officials at a meeting in South Block today,” the Ministry of Defence said.

During the meeting, Singh had directed that all border infrastructure to be fast-tracked so that movement of forces should not be affected.

BRO Director General Lieutenant General Harpal Singh briefed the minister that since inception the organisation has been a leading road construction agency involved in the construction of roads, bridges, tunnels and airfields in remote border areas and have also undertaken construction in friendly foreign countries like Bhutan, Myanmar, and Afghanistan in line with our overall strategic objectives.

The officer also briefed the minister that there has been a major surge in outcomes in BRO in the last few years.

BRO has executed about 30 per cent more works in 2019-20 as compared to 2018-19. The officer said BRO have executed 1,273 kilometres formation cutting, 2,214 kilometres of surfacing, Rs 1,715 crore of permanent works, 2,979 kilometres of major bridges, Rs 689 crore in tunnel works and 2,498 kilometres of re-surfacing in 2019-20.

In the last two years since 2017-18, there has been a surge of 44 per cent in formation cutting, 15 per cent in surfacing, 55 per cent in permanent works, 17 per cent in major bridges and 49 per cent in resurfacing works.

The overall expenditure for 2019-20 was Rs 7,867 crore as compared to Rs 5,458 crore in 2017-18 and Rs 6,859 crores in 2018- 19, the officer explained.

Last month, the government has approved an additional Rs 1,691 crore for highway works by the Border Roads Organisation in Jammu & Kashmir and Uttarakhand.

Further, amid escalated tension between India and China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), Lt Gen Harpal Singh had made a visit to the under-construction 8.8-km-long Atal Rohtang Tunnel that is set for a September opening. (IANS)

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