India to have network of strategic roads by 2013

"By 2013 we would be able to complete work on bulk of the roads. There can not be a deadline for the last road as there are some very tough nuts to crack and we are trying to find the solution," Border Roads Organization (BRO) Director General Lt Gen S Ravi Shankar told reporters here.

About 63 per cent of work on 27 roads in Arunachal Pradesh and 12 in Ladakh are complete, he said, adding that these are high priority roads closely monitored at the highest levels.

On whether environment clearances were creating obstacles in construction of these roads, Shankar said, "We need to take forest clearance in some areas to widen roads or to construct roads in Gangtok (Sikkim) region. The local government has been helpful in sorting out these problems."

He said the BRO has been undergoing a restructuring process since 2007 and has purchased equipment worth Rs 200 crore. Orders for equipment worth another Rs 166 crore will materialize in the next two to three years, he added.

With the help of improved equipment, BRO is now able to construct five kilometers of roads and nine metres of bridges every day.

"We are responsible for maintenance of 15,000 kilometers of roads in border areas. We have also built 19 airfields and 36 kilometers of bridges on these important roads," he said.

BRO has also constructed roads in Bhutan, Mayanmar, Afghanistan and recently built a runway in Tajikistan.

This year the organization received a budget of Rs 5000 crore which it would be using to purchase state-of-the-art machines to negotiate roads in mountains and rugged hilly terrain, he said.

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