Antony releases a special souvenir ‘Reflections’ along with his deputy Pallam Raju. Photo: MoD
The Defence Minister Shri AK Antony has asked the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) to focus on building strategic roads and other infrastructure including tunnels and airfields on the borders. Addressing the BRO’s Golden Jubilee function here today, Shri Antony said, “though demand has been growing from various states to involve the BRO, there is a limit to which it can stretch its resources and manpower.” “BRO has an important role in developing the border infrastructure and in executing construction of roads, bridges and airfields in remote and far-flung areas,” he added.
Shri Antony said there is a turnaround in Government policy towards building assets in inaccessible border areas. He said earlier the thinking was that inaccessibility in far flung areas would be a deterrent to the enemies. Describing such school of thought as ‘incorrect approach’, he said, Government is now taking a number of measures to upgrade roads, tunnels and airfields etc in the border areas.
The Defence Minister assured liberal grants and the most contemporary earthmovers and heavy machinery available anywhere to help the BRO achieve its targets and build roads in the northern Himalayan borders, the world’s most difficult and inhospitable terrain. “I urge all the concerned ministries, other organisations and state governments to extend every possible support to help the BRO in fulfilling its mandate,” he said.
Shri Antony further said that this premier Inter-Services Organisation functioning under the Ministry of Defence was “an extended family” of the Armed Forces and it would obviously “give rise to friction in such a mixed family.” “There is no room for bickering,” Shri Antony observed, adding that outstanding issues would be “resolved amicably.”
Speaking on the occasion, the Minister of State for Defence Dr. MM Pallam Raju commended the large casual workforce engaged by the BRO, numbering almost one lakh men and women. Dr. Raju said the government is seized of the issue, and a social security scheme is on the anvil for the welfare of the labourers “who face the vagaries of weather.”
A special postal cover and a souvenir ‘Reflections’ was released on the occasion. The Chief of Air Staff and Chiefs of Staff Committee Air Chief Marshal PV Naik, Chief of Army Staff General VK Singh, Defence Secretary Shri Pradeep Kumar, BRO Director-General, Lt General MC Badhani and Engineer-in-Chief, Lt General AK Nanda were also present.