New Delhi, January 13: The annual report of the Central Public Works Department (CPWD), tabled earlier this month, stated that the agency has been asked by the government to develop roadways in frontier parts to ensure quick mobilisation of troops. The government has asked for the construction of 44 "strategically important" roads along the Line of Actual Control with China, the CPWD documents showed.
As per the directive issued by the Centre, roads facilitating the movement of troopers will be repaired, reconstructed or get newly constructed along the 4,000-km Sino-Indian border, stretching right from Arunachal Pradesh in the northeast to the Jammu & Kashmir in the north. India-China Special Representatives Talks: Ajit Doval Meets Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi To Discuss Border Issues.
Apart from LAC, the CPWD has also been tasked with the development of over 2100 km of axial and lateral roads in Punjab and Rajasthan, abutting Pakistan.
The report comes at a time China is giving a priority to projects along its India borders. In 2017, Indian and Chinese troops engaged in a face-off at the Doklam tri-junction after the neighbouring country had begun building road in the area.
The standoff ended on August 28 following a mutual agreement under which China stopped the construction of the road and India withdrew its troops. The report stated that these 44 strategically road along the Sino-Indian border will be constructed at a cost of nearly Rs 21,000 crore.
"The CPWD has been entrusted with construction of 44 strategically important roads along the Indo-China Border spanning 5 states of J&K, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh," the report stated.
"The total Cost of work as per DPRs (Detailed Project Reports) is Rs 21,040 crores (approx.)," the report stated. It said the process of approval of DPRs by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is underway.
The CPWD report also stated that lateral and axial roads measuring over 2,100 kilometers will be built with a cost of around Rs 5,400 crore in Rajasthan and Punjab along the Indo-Pakistan border.
The DPRs for this project are under preparation in CPWD, which is a major construction agency of the central government. "A total of 945 km of lateral roads and 533 km of axial roads lie in Rajasthan (tentative cost Rs 3,700 crores) and 482 km of lateral roads and 219 km of axial roads in Punjab (tentative cost Rs 1,750 crores)," it stated.
The road projects will secure the vast and remote border areas of Rajasthan and Punjab, it stated. India's border with Pakistan runs through four states, Jammu and Kashmir (1,225 km, which includes 740 km of Line of Control), Rajasthan (1,037 km), Punjab (553 km) and Gujarat (508 km).
(With PTI inputs)