Saturday, May 08, 2010

BRO to abandon NH-16 work through Naxal-infested states

5 May 2010, 1624 hrs IST,PTI
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NEW DELHI: The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) have been asked to move out of the National Highway-16 project in Naxal-infested Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Chattisgarh on "as is where is basis" by March next year.

The BRO, a defence institution, will hand over the 200-km work it was tasked to complete to respective state governments and move on to strategically more important project along the borders with Pakistan and China, BRO's Director General Lt Gen M C Badani told reporters here today on the occasion of his organisation's golden jubilee celebrations.

"The Hirak project (involving NH-16 road construction) is a special task force (project). It is not a normal project and was raised as a truncated project to work without too many manpower in the headquarters," Badani said.

"Hirak will be handing over this national highway to the three state governments and moving out to strategically important areas which we have to undertake within a particular probable date of completion. The directions, which were given as per the government is concerned, by March 31 (next year) the project will be handing over the entire road to the three state governments on 'as is where is' basis," he said.

The Nagpur-based Hirak project was tasked to complete a 200-km stretch of the highway passing through Dantewada in Chattisgarh where Maoists massacred 76 CRPF jawans last month.

The BRO, the premier institution to build roads, bridges and tunnels in difficult border terrain of the country, has so far constructed 92-km stretch of the highway.

It is currently working on a 40-km stretch of the highway in which three important bridges are incomplete.

"I have moved a proposal that we be allowed to complete the bridges before we transfer the manpower to other strategically important project in the borders. The remaining stretch would be taken care of by the respective state governments," Badani said.

Of the NH-16 stretch the BRO as tasked to construct, 68 kms would be left incomplete while it is handed over to Maharashtra, Chattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh.

Admitting that Naxals was a major problem in the area through which NH-16 runs, the BRO DG said the problem existed even before his organisation was deployed there, but steps had been taken to tackle the threat both through BRO's own security personnel from the Territorial Army and on and off through state police personnel.

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