Rajnath Singh in Ladakh; dedicates to the nation 63 bridges built by BRO in six states and two UTs
Ladakh, Underlining the importance of connectivity especially in border areas for the development of a nation, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh reaffirmed the government’s resolve to ensure infrastructure development in far-flung border areas and added that today’s inauguration of 63 bridges is an important step in that direction.
The Defence Minister was speaking at the dedication of 63 bridges built by Border Roads Organisation (BRO) to the nation in six states and two Union Territories (UTs) at an event held at Kyungam, 88 km from Leh in the Union Territory of Ladakh on June 28.
The bridges were inaugurated by the Defence Minister in the presence of Ladakh Lt Governor RK Mathur, Ladakh MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, General Officer-Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C) Northern Command Lt Gen YK Joshi, BRO Director General Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhry and other senior civil and military officials from Ministry of Defence, Indian Army, BRO and civil administration.
Speaking on the occasion, Rajnath Singh lauded BRO’s commitment towards establishing connectivity to far-flung areas, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that some of these bridges will become a lifeline for many villages located in remote inaccessible areas. He expressed confidence that the bridges will play a crucial role in strengthening security as well as promoting the economic development of the respective states through improved connectivity.
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat, Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang; Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region & Minister of State, PMO, Dr. Jitendra Singh; MP from Jammu and Kashmir Jugal Kishore Sharma, MP from Uttarakhand Ajay Tamta and MP from Mizoram C Lalrosanga were among those who attended the event virtually.
From Kyungam, the Defence Minister inaugurated a 50-metre-long bridge constructed on the Leh-Loma road in Ladakh. This single span steel super structure bridge, which replaces an existing bailey bridge, will ensure unhindered movement of heavy weapon systems including guns, tanks and other specialised equipment. The Leh-Loma road, which connects Leh with places such as Chumathang, Hanley and Tso Morori Lake, is vital for access to forward areas in Eastern Ladakh.
In addition, Rajnath Singh virtually inaugurated 62 more bridges – 11 in Ladakh, four in Jammu & Kashmir, three in Himachal Pradesh, six in Uttarakhand, eight in Sikkim, one each in Nagaland and Manipur and 29 in Arunachal Pradesh. The combined cost of the projects is Rs. 240 crores and they will provide a tremendous boost to connectivity in the border areas.
On the government’s decision to bifurcate Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh as two separate UTs, the Defence Minister stated that the strong and visionary steps have bolstered national unity, led to major reduction in terrorist activities sponsored from outside and opened new avenues for the socio-economic development of the people.
On the development of Ladakh, Rajnath Singh said a number of welfare schemes are being implemented including Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, National Rural Livelihood Mission, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, that shows the government’s resolve towards the welfare of the region. He also reaffirmed the government’s commitment to start the democratic process in the region.
Lauding the Indian Army for displaying exemplary courage during the Galwan Valley incident in 2020, the Minister paid tributes to the bravehearts who laid down their lives in the line of duty. He called for dialogue with neighbouring countries to resolve disputes, maintaining that “India is a peace-loving nation which does not believe in aggression, however if provoked, we will give a befitting reply”.
He assured the nation that the Armed Forces are fully prepared to deal with any situation and highlighted the reforms undertaken by the government to strengthen the security at the borders, increase jointness among the Armed Forces and make them self-reliant. “We are moving fast towards building a safe, strong and prosperous nation in every way,” he said.
In his address, DG Border Roads stated that the projects were completed despite the limited working window and COVID-19 pandemic. He said these bridges will assist in speedy mobilisation of the Armed Forces in strategically important sectors, further bolstering the security environment, as also contribute significantly towards the overall economic growth of remote border areas. He reiterated BRO’s resolve in continuing to serve the nation despite challenges.
With the inauguration of 63 bridges in one go, BRO has surpassed its own record of 44 bridges launched in 2020. These 63 bridges, combined with 12 roads dedicated to the nation by Rajnath Singh on June 17, form a bouquet of 75 infrastructure projects completed by BRO, when the nation is celebrating the 75th anniversary of its Independence.