Defence Minister Rajnath Singh virtually inaugurated 90 key border infrastructure projects across 11 states and Union Territories on Tuesday, including the strategically located Nechiphu tunnel connecting Tawang with Assam's Balipara. The central focus on pushing infrastructure projects along the Line of Actual Control comes amid continuing military confrontation with China in the region.
The BRO has recently completed the construction of eight roads in Arunachal Pradesh along the LAC at a cost of Rs 678 crore. In his address, the Defence Minister described the BRO as ‘bro (brother)’ of the Armed Forces, asserting that, through its infrastructure projects, BRO is not only securing India’s borders, but also playing a key role in the socio-economic development of the far-flung areas. “Together with BRO, we are ensuring that the nation is secure and border areas are developed. Timely completion of infrastructure projects in far-flung areas has now become the new normal of New India,” he said.
Of the 90 projects dedicated to the nation by Singh, 11 are in Jammu and Kashmir, 26 in Ladakh, 36 in Arunachal Pradesh, five in Mizoram, three in Himachal Pradesh, two each in Sikkim, Uttarakhand and West Bengal and one each in Nagaland, Rajasthan, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The projects inaugurated in Arunachal Pradesh include eight road projects and 20 bridges.
Situated at an altitude of 5,700 feet, Nechiphu tunnel on the Balipara-Charduar-Tawang road in West Kameng district is a unique D-shaped single-tube double-lane tunnel. Once operational, the tunnel will provide all-weather connectivity to the strategic Tawang region and will be beneficial for both armed forces and tourists, officials said.
The tunnel will bypass the Nechiphu Pass, where extreme foggy conditions prevail, causing hindrance to general traffic and military convoys. "An architectural masterpiece, the strategically located tunnel will facilitate the swift movement of troops as well as citizens. Cutting a short distance by about 5 km, the tunnel will provide ease of travel and connectivity in the stretch that has dense fog," Chief Minister Pema Khandu said in X, formerly Twitter.
The Defence Minister also expressed hope the BRO will soon set another unique record with the construction of Shinkun La Tunnel, which is set to be the world’s highest tunnel at an altitude of 15,855 feet. The tunnel, once operational, will connect Lahaul-Spiti in Himachal to the Zaskar Valley in Ladakh and provide all weather connectivity.
Other key projects include the Devak Bridge on Bishnah-Kaulpur-Phulpur Road in J&K’s Samba district. The state-of-the-art 422.9 meter long Class 70 RCC Devak bridge is of strategic importance as it will enhance the operational preparedness of the Armed Forces and boost socio-economic development of the region, a statement issued by the government said.