Road building gathers pace on China border


New Delhi: Amid the continuing military stand-off with China at Doklam in Bhutanese territory, India has decided to speed up the construction of border roads in the eastern sector leading to the Sino-Indian border in the face of delays and to remove bottlenecks.

The ministry of defence on Sunday said it “has decided to delegate administrative and financial powers to the Border Roads Organisation right upto the level of chief engineer and task force commander, so as to avoid delays on account of references between the chief engineer and HQ DGBR (DG-Border Roads) and also between HQ DGBR and the Ministry. 

The MoD said it “intends to bring transformational changes in the organisation (BRO) in order to improve the pace of execution of works and to achieve the desired outcomes according to the requirement of the Armed Forces”. 

India has also decided to “replace obsolete construction equipment in the BRO with modern equipment”.

Functioning under the control of the MoD since 2015, the BRO is engaged in road construction to provide connectivity to difficult and inaccessible regions in the border areas of the country. 

The government said that “it is expected that with delegation of powers by the MoD to the BRO, the pace of road construction in border areas would improve and the BRO would be able to complete ongoing/new projects in compressed timelines.”

In a statement on Sunday, the MoD said, “In line with the aim to bring in transformational changes in the BRO, various powers of delegation have been revised. According to the earlier delegation of powers, a Chief Engineer in the BRO could give administrative approval of works only upto Rs 10 crore, that too only for departmental works, whereas the ADGBR had powers to accord administrative approval only upto Rs 20 crore for departmental works. For contractual works, all administrative approvals were given by DGBR, who had powers only upto Rs 50 crore. Enhancing the powers at all levels in the BRO, the ministry has now approved that for both departmental and contractual mode of execution, a chief engineer can accord administrative approval upto Rs 50 crore, ADGBR upto Rs 75 crore and DGBR upto Rs 100 crore.”

The MoD added, “There also is a need to replace obsolete construction equipment in the BRO with modern equipment. As per the earlier delegation of powers, DGBR had powers upto Rs 7.5 crore for procurement of indigenous equipment and Rs 3 crore for procurement of imported equipment.”