Ladakh [India], June 28 (ANI): Underlining the importance of connectivity, especially in border areas for the development of a nation, Defence Minister Rajanth Singh on Monday reaffirmed the Government's resolve to ensure infrastructure development in far-flung border areas and added that today's inauguration of 63 bridges in six states and two union territories is an important step in that direction.
He expressed confidence that the bridges will play a crucial role in strengthening security as well as promoting the economic development of the respective states through improved connectivity.
The Defence Minster inaugurated 63 bridges, built by Border Roads Organisation (BRO), in six States and two Union Territories (UTs), at an event held at Kyungam, 88 kms from Leh in the Union Territory of Ladakh today.
From Kyungam, the Raksha Mantri inaugurated a 50-metre-long bridge constructed on the Leh-Loma Road in Ladakh. This single span steel super structure bridge, which replaces an existing bailey bridge, will ensure unhindered movement of heavy weapon systems, including guns, tanks and other specialised equipment. The Leh-Loma Road, which connects Leh with places such as Chumathang, Hanley and Tso Morori Lake, is vital for access to forward areas in Eastern Ladakh.
In addition, Rajnath Singh virtually inaugurated 62 more bridges - 11 in Ladakh, four in Jammu & Kashmir, three in Himachal Pradesh, six in Uttarakhand, eight in Sikkim, one each in Nagaland and Manipur and 29 in Arunachal Pradesh. The combined cost of the projects is Rs 240 crores and they will provide a tremendous boost to connectivity in the border areas.
Speaking on the occasion, Singh lauded BRO's commitment towards establishing connectivity to far-flung areas, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that some of these bridges will become a lifeline for many villages located in remote inaccessible areas.
On the Government's decision to bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh as two separate UTs, the Raksha Mantri stated that the strong and visionary steps have bolstered national unity, led to major reduction in terrorist activities sponsored from outside and opened new avenues for the socio-economic development of the people. On the development of Ladakh, Shri Rajnath Singh said a number of welfare schemes are being implemented, including Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, National Rural Livelihood Mission, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, that shows the Government's resolve towards the welfare of the region. He also reaffirmed the Government's commitment to start the democratic process in the region.
Lauding the Indian Army for displaying exemplary courage during the Galwan Valley incident in 2020, the Defence Minister paid tributes to the bravehearts who laid down their lives in the line of duty.
He called for dialogue with neighbouring countries to resolve disputes, maintaining that "India is a peace-loving nation which does not believe in aggression, however if provoked, we will give a befitting reply". He assured the nation that the Armed Forces are fully prepared to deal with any situation.
Singh highlighted the reforms undertaken by the Government to strengthen the security at the borders, increase jointness among the Armed Forces and make them self-reliant. "We are moving fast towards building a safe, strong and prosperous nation in every way," he said.
In his address, DG Border Roads stated that the projects were completed despite the limited working window and COVID-19 pandemic. He said these bridges will assist in speedy mobilisation of the Armed Forces in strategically important sectors, further bolstering the security environment, as also contribute significantly towards the overall economic growth of remote border areas. He reiterated BRO's resolve in continuing to serve the nation despite challenges.
With the inauguration of 63 bridges in one go, BRO has surpassed its own record of 44 bridges launched in 2020, said the Defence Minster adding, these 63 bridges, combined with 12 roads dedicated to the nation by Shri Rajnath Singh on June 17, 2021, form a bouquet of 75 infrastructure projects completed by BRO, when the nation is celebrating the 75th anniversary of its Independence.
The bridges were inaugurated by the Defence Minister in the presence of Lt Governor of Ladakh RK Mathur, Ladakh MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, General Officer-Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command Lt Gen YK Joshi, DG Border Roads Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhry and other senior civil and military officials from Ministry of Defence, Indian Army, BRO and civil administration, said the ministry.
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat, Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang; Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region and Minister of State, PMO, Dr Jitendra Singh; MP from Jammu and Kashmir Jugal Kishore Sharma, MP from Uttarakhand Ajay Tamta and MP from Mizoram C Lalrosanga were among those who attended the event virtually.
The Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also inaugurated a library at Thiksay Monastery in Ladakh today.
"I didn't imagine that the library I am going to inaugurate would be so rich. Buddhism wants holistic development of every individual's personality," he sais at the inauguration of the library. (ANI)