Amid ongoing tensions with China along the borders, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday held a meeting with Border Road Organisation Chief Lt Gen Harpal Singh and other senior officials to review the ongoing projects.

At the meeting, Singh also discussed the improvement of infrastructure near Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China and Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan.

“Defence Minister Rajnath Singh reviewed the ongoing projects with DG BRO (Border Road Organisation) and other senior officials at a meeting in South Block today,” the Ministry of Defence said.

The briefing went on for more than an hour.

During the meeting, the Defence Minister directed that all border infrastructures to be fast-tracked so that movement of forces is not affected.

DG, Border Roads Organisation, Lieutenant General Harpal Singh briefed the minister that since inception the organisation have been a leading road construction agency involved in construction of roads, bridges, tunnels and airfields in remote border areas and have also undertaken construction in friendly foreign countries like Bhutan, Myanmar, Afghanistan in line with our overall strategic objectives.

He also assured Rajnath Singh that that the BRO would not leave any stone unturned to complete the ongoing projects on LAC and LoC on time and informed that all ministries including the Defence, Home and Transport are working in close coordination on all the projects.

The officer also briefed the minister that there has been a major surge in outcomes in BRO work in the last few years.

The BRO has executed about 30 per cent more work in 2019-20 as compared to 2018-19. The officer said that the BRO has executed 1,273 kilometres formation cutting, 2,214 kilometres of surfacing, Rs 1,715 crore of permanent work, 2,979 kilometres of major bridges, Rs 689 crore of tunnel work and 2,498 kilometres of re-surfacing in 2019-20.

In the last two years since 2017-18 there has been a surge of 44 per cent in formation cutting, 15 per cent in surfacing, 55 per cent in permanent work, 17 per cent in major bridges and 49 per cent in resurfacing works.

The overall expenditure for 2019-20 was Rs 7,867 crore as compared to Rs 5,458 crore in 2017-18 and Rs 6,859 crore in 2018-19, the officer explained.

Last month, the government approved an additional Rs 1,691 crore for highway projects by the Border Roads Organisation in Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand.

Further, amid escalated tension between India and China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), Lt Gen Harpal Singh had made a visit to the under-construction 8.8 km-long Atal Rohtang Tunnel that is set for a September opening.