NEW DELHI: India’s capacity to counter challenges like Doklam is likely to get a significant boost in the next couple of years with stepped up pace of work on India-China border roads likely to result in several critical high altitude links being completed well before the 2020-21 deadline.
Though the completion time-frame for most of the 61 roads — barring two or three — the Border Roads Organisation has been entrusted with, is around 2021, many will be ready earlier as enhanced financial powers given to the organisation recently begin to show results on the ground.
The construction of India-China roads has already seen a marked improvement in the past two-three years with formation cutting increasing from 107km in 2014-15 to 147 km in 2016-17. Similarly, progress on surfacing has increased from 174 km to 233 km in 2016-17 despite the heights and hard rock stretches.
The improved pace, given a limited working season of four to six months, is particularly noticeable on roads where the government accorded special dispensation considering the hostile work environment. As of now, against 3,400 km of 61 India-China roads under the BRO’s charge, just 270km of formation cutting remains to achieve 100% connectivity — meaning road laying can begin from both ends of the project.