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10 new border tunnels to be operational shortly, eight more planned: BRO chief

Says the BRO incorporating new technology, including 3D printing, in its projects; exploring new domains of construction

10 new border tunnels to be operational shortly, eight more planned: BRO chief

Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhary, Director-General, BRO, speaks at an event in Chandigarh, Sunday September 24, 2023. Tribune Photo: Nitin Mittal



Tribune News Service

Vijay Mohan

Chandigarh, September 24 

The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) is laying greater emphasis on construction of tunnels in mountainous areas to provide year-round connectivity to border regions in Ladakh as well as the north-east.

“In the first 60 years of its existence since 1960, BRO had constructed just two tunnels. However, in the last three years alone, four tunnels have been completed and another 10 are expected to be complete within 1-2 years,” said Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhary, Director-General Border Roads Organisation, here on Sunday.

“Construction of another eight tunnels has also been planned,” he added.

He was here to review the progress of the world’s largest 3D printed complex that is being constructed by the BRO in Chandigarh to provide transit support facilities to personnel and equipment enroute to Ladakh.

Tunnels, he said, are the most effective means to provide fast and all-weather connectivity to remote border areas as most mountain passes remain closed during winters due to heavy snowfall.

The BRO is also working to reduce the time period that the passes remain closed.

A large number of projects including construction of roads, bridges and tunnels as well as upgradation of airfields in border areas are underway.

Lt Gen Chaudhary said that about 60 projects are expected to be complete shortly. Earlier this month, 90 new projects were launched by the defence minister.

For snow clearing operations along high-altitude roads, the BRO has introduced a GIS enabled navigation system mounted on dozers that provide operators the exact alignment of the road axis underneath the snow cover and guides their movement accordingly, thereby preventing the equipment from veering off-track. This system was used for the first time this year.

Lt Gen Chaudhary said that great impetus is now being laid on the development of border infrastructure and towards this end; the budgetary support for BRO has increased by 100 percent over the past two years.

“The BRO is also incorporating new technology, including 3D printing, in its projects, exploring new domains of construction and is also harnessing the use of waste material and industrial by-products,” he said.

“Development of border infrastructure is not for military purpose alone, but also vital for socio-economic development of far-flung areas and merging them with the mainstream,” he said.

BRO is in the process of constructing the world’s highest tunnel at Shinku La, which at a height of 16,855 feet will surpass mi La tunnel at 15,580 feet in Tibet.

Shinku La will link the Lahaul Spiti valley in Himachal Pradesh with Zanskar Valley in Ladakh, enabling connectivity with dozens of villages on either side.

Construction of the world’s highest motorable road, the Likaru-Mig La-Fukche link in south-eastern Ladakh also began in August this year and will be complete in about three years. Touching 19,400 feet, it will break the record of the 19,024 feet high Umling La, also in eastern Ladakh.

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