Tribune News Service
Kolkata, October 25
China’s irritation over the rapid infrastructure development close to the Line of Actual Control has failed to prevent India from bolstering its road connectivity.
In a bold step, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday inaugurated the ‘Alternate Alignment Gangtok-Nathu La Road’ constructed by the Army’s Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in Sikkim, via video conferencing from the Headquarters of 33 Corps in Darjeeling’s Sukna.
“The 19.85 Km Alternate Alignment of the National Highway 310 was dedicated to the nation today. This new alignment will bolster defence preparedness in the Nathu La Sector. Congratulations to BRO for its unwavering commitment towards delivering outstanding quality infrastructure”, the Defence Minister tweeted after the inauguration.
Besides military, the new road will also be big help for civilians. NH-310 connecting Gangtok to Nathu La is the lifeline of the people living in eastern Sikkim.
“By constructing 19.35 km long alternate route BRO has fulfilled the aspirations of the Army and residents of east Sikkim,” Rajnath said while speaking after the e-inauguration of road constructed by BRO.
“The previous alignment of the road has seen extensive damages due to sinking and other natural hazards,” a spokesperson from the Ministry of Defence said.
Giving an outline regarding the works being executed by the BRO in Sikkim, Rajnath said most of the border roads were being upgraded to double lane. Out of this, 65 km of road construction work is in progress in eastern Sikkim. Construction of 225 km double lane road to ‘Mangan-Chugthang-Eumsemdong’ and ‘Chuganthang-Lachen-Jima-Muguthang-Nakula’ was planned under the “Bharatmala Project” in north Sikkim. These works are planned in nine packages with an estimated cost of Rs 5,710 crore, he said.
The Defence Minister, who is on a two-day trip to the eastern sector, praised the positive role played by the Sikkim government. He said BRO was helped by the state government with regard to land acquisition and prompt clearance from the forest department for the construction of the road.
Opening up of the alternative road to Nathu La (where India and China fought a bloody battle in 1967) followed the October 12 inauguration by Rajnath of 44 bridges built in the border areas of Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.
Earlier in the day, Defence Minister performed ‘Shastra Puja’ at Sukna.
“India wants an end to the ongoing border tension with China and the restoration of peace. This is our objective. But at times, some nefarious incidents keep happening. I am very confident that our soldiers will never allow even an inch of our land to be taken away by anyone”, Rajnath, who was accompanied by Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane, said after performing the puja.
The Defence Minister also greeted the soldiers on the occasion of Dussehra.