Saturday, July 04, 2020

Nearly 100 labourers flown to Leh to help with critical border road construction

Leh: For many of the labourers from Jharkhand flown in to assist the development of critical border road infrastructure near the border with China in Ladakh, the flight from Delhi to Leh was the first time they had been airborne.
"Since the Jharkhand state government has denied permission for special trains to ferry labourers to forward locations, the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has made arrangement to take us by air from Delhi," says 35-year old labourer Ramesh Modi from Dumka, who flew for the first time, in an Air India flight to Leh on Saturday morning. Not only Ramesh, but all of his fellow workers were thrilled as well as nervous for their first air journey.
To speed up the development of infrastructure along the border with China, nearly 100 labourers from Jharkhand have landed in Leh, Ladakh to finish the critical Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldie (DS-DBO) road project.
Despite Chinese objections to the road, which provides access to Depsang plain, Galwan valley and the Karakoram pass, India has made it clear that infrastructure build-up will continue along the border regions, including in Ladakh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
Further, satellite images have indicated that instead of cutting down on the number of troops following military talks that took place after the June 15 clash in the Galwan valley, the PLA has further strengthened its deployment on the flashpoints by setting up permanent bunkers, pillboxes and observation posts, as well as by aggressively building roads and other infrastructure at multiple locations.
Building roads leading to the disputed Line of Actual Control, considered among the world's longest disputed or unresolved borders, has been a fraught exercise for the government. 73 India-China border roads on the Himalayan frontier were conceptualised in the late 1990s by a consultative group called the China Studies Group; the roads were subsequently cleared at the highest level of the Cabinet Committee on Security and given the go-ahead for construction in 1999.
04/07/20 Pradip R Sagar/The Week
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