BRO to abandon road project in Maoist area

Posted by on May 5th, 2010 and filed under Defence/Security, Terrorism. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

New Delhi, May 5 (IANS) The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) Wednesday said it will by early next year abandon a road construction project in Maoist-affected areas in central India on ‘as-is-where-is basis’.

The defence road-construction wing will quit the 200-km work on the National Highway-16 running through the Maoist red belt of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh by March 2011, BRO Director General Lt. Gen. M.C. Badhani told reporters.

The BRO that celebrates its golden jubilee May 7 will redeploy its men to strategically more important projects along the borders with Pakistan and China, he said.

‘The Project Hirak (in central India) is a special (project). It is not normal and was raised as a truncated project to work without too much of manpower in the headquarters,’ Badhani said.

‘The BRO will be handing over this national highway to the three state governments on as-is-where-is basis by March 31 next year,’ he said.

Presently, over 90 km of the road have been completed and an estimated another 40 km would be completed by March next year, leaving a 70-km stretch incomplete when the BRO quits. The deadline for the completion of work was 2010.

The highway passes through Dantewada forests in Chattisgarh where Maoists massacred 76 security personnel last month.

But Badhani said it were the procedural hassles and not Maoist guerrillas that caused delay in the road construction.

‘No doubt there is the Naxalite problem… they (Maoists) have burnt our machines a couple of times. But that is not an issue. We have been getting a lot of local support there. The issue is procedural delay like forest clearance and land acquisition,’ he said.

Badhani said he had moved a proposal that the BRO be allowed to complete 2-3 bridges before it transferred the manpower to other ‘important’ projects in the border areas.

His remarks came amid reports that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Chhattisgarh had criticised the slow pace of the road work.

The BRO, created in 1960, is responsible for constructing and maintaining roads and infrastructure near the border areas of the country. It has helped in accelerating the economic development of north and northeastern border states like Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Sikkim.

The BRO was tasked to construct the road work in the Maoist-affected areas in 2008 after civil contractors refused to take up the jobs.

The border roads constructing agency has come under Maoist attacks many times but Badhani said none of their men were hurt.

A premier institution to build roads, bridges and tunnels in difficult border terrain of the country, the BRO has, over the years, earned the reputation of being the only road construction agency to maintain roads in difficult and inhospitable terrain and climate by constructing 48,300 km roads, nearly 35,000 metres of bridges, and 19 airfields — both within the country and abroad.

Categories: Defence/Security, Terrorism

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