Ladakh To Get Roads On 'war Footing'
4 May 2007
The Indian Express
Leh: With the Rs 12,123-crore Special Accelerated Road Development Project (SARDP) for accelerating road connectivity to the Northeast well under way, the government has identified Ladakh as the next region for development of border roads on a 'war footing'. In a significant move, a high level delegation of MEA and MoD officials accompanied Defence Minister A K Antony on his first visit to Leh to draw up a masterplan for integrated road development in the region. The delegation, headed by Special Envoy to the Prime Minister, Shyam Saran, will survey the region for the next few days and identify vital projects to be brought under an accelerated development plan. 'We will be conducting a survey in the region to see where infrastructure can be improved. The aim is to get developmental work done at a fast pace,' Saran said. He added that the project would be modelled around North-East's SARDP. Significantly, an official from MEA's China desk is also part of the delegation to identify vital projects in the area. Concerned with the growing land transport network on the Chinese side across the border, the delegation will be looking to increasing black topped roads for 'end point connectivity' till the international border. While BRO will be handling all road projects, the idea is not just to meet defence needs. 'It will not be just to increase security. Communication as a whole will get benefited in the region,' Saran. The roads will also help local law enforcement authorities reach remote locations, an official added. The defence minister has also thrown his weight behind the project. 'They (Border Roads Organisation) must complete border roads on a war footing. We will give top priority for both equipment and manpower,' the Defence Minister said.