Centre Empowers Border Roads Organisation With Greater Financial Powers

An Indian Army convoy in the Kashmir Valley

The Border Roads Organisation (BRO), which is tasked with the construction of 73 strategically important roads in the frontier regions of the country, has been empowered with greater financial powers.

The chief engineers of the organisation, who head the projects, will now enjoy financial powers that are five to 10 times more than their previous limits. While a chief engineer’s powers have been enhanced ten times from Rs 10 crore to Rs 100 crore, the power of the assistant director general border roads has grown 15 times, from Rs 20 crore to Rs 300 crore.

The move, government says, will help “avoid delays on account of references between the Chief Engineer and HQ DGBR (Headquarters, Director General Border Roads) and also between HQ DGBR and the Ministry.”

“With this delegation, the entire tendering process including acceptance of bids would be completed at the level of Chief Engineer/ADGBR for a majority of the contracts”, said the government.

This decision comes at a time when BRO’s road building has lagged. Only 27 (963km) of the 73 strategic roads (totalling 4,643km) have been built in the last 15 years. Although Rs 4,536 crore of the Rs 4,644 crore approved for the 61 roads has been released, the organisation has been able to construct only 22 roads. In contrast, China has built an extensive network of railway lines, highways and air bases in Tibet.

Lack of roads in border areas not only impedes economic activity, it also makes it difficult for the army to move equipment and personnel to these areas.

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