Friday, December 18, 2009

Manpower shortage crippling Border Roads Organisation

By IANS December 17th, 2009

NEW DELHI - As the defence ministry plans revamping of road infrastructure along the India-China border, shortage of manpower in the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) is proving to be a major hindrance.

The total sanctioned posts in BRO is 42,646. However, only 34,966 posts are currently filled, a senior BRO official said.

In the officer cadre, there are 1,540 vacancies but the organisation has been able to fill only 880 posts.

The BRO is currently undertaking projects in treacherous terrains and harsh weather of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir and in northeastern states bordering China.

Hard and difficult working conditions in far flung remote areas of the country, non-family stations, inclement weather conditions, inhospitable terrain and Naxalite (Maoist) or militancy problems inhibit young people from joining the BRO, said the official.

The shortage of manpower is affecting the completion of 61 roads that are being constructed along the Line of Actual Control between India and China. So far, only 12 roads have been completed and the remaining 49 are facing delays.

Many roads pass through high altitude areas where working season and daily working time is limited. Also no labour is available in most of the areas. As the labour is getting employment locally under NREGS (national rural employment guarantee scheme) they are hesitant to migrate to difficult areas.

Good contractors are also not available in far-flung and difficult areas, the official added.

The government is undertaking steps increasing budget, delegating of power to various functionaries in BRO, permitting outsourcing of work and expediting process of recruitment through Union Public Service Commission and General Reserve Engineering Force Centre, Pune, he said.

We are seeking cooperation of state governments of Jharkhand and Orissa for recruiting migrant labours from these states. Incentives are being provided to contractors, and casual labourers are given more facilities to attract more manpower, he revealed.

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