PITHORAGARH: Almost a month after completing the Kailash Mansarovar road near Lipulekh Pass – which had triggered protests by Nepal – the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has now accelerated the pace of connecting the last village of India along the China border in
with the mainstream.
The road being constructed in the high-altitude
in Pithoragarh will connect Munsyari to Milam, which is the last Indian settlement before the India-China border. BRO officials said that since there is only a small window of around five months in a year when they can work on the stretch (the area is snow-bound for most part of the year), they have pressed choppers into service carrying rock-cutting equipment like JCB machines to increase the speed of work.
The distance between Munsyari and Milam is 64 km and, as per sources, BRO has finished the bulk of the work and only a roughly 20-km stretch is left for construction. This, sources said, is the hardest part since it comprises rocky and treacherous terrain.
The Munsyari-Milam road is considered a strategically important one, which once completed will provide ease of access to the military and paramilitary forces for reaching the India-China border. It has been in the works since 2008 with construction happening from both the Munsyari and Milam end. Initially, an 18-km stretch of the road was constructed from Munsyari to Lilam and thereafter, a 26-km stretch from Milam to Laspa, and now work is ongoing in the 20-km patch in the middle between Lilam and Laspa.
District officials said that the lockdown and bad weather had hampered the pace of work but it should now pick up. “With rock cutting equipment being brought by air to the construction site at Laspa, work is expected to be accelerated,” said AK Shukla, SDM Munsyari.
Incidentally, BRO had last year also attempted to land choppers with equipment in the area but did not meet with success. BRO chief engineer Bimal Goswami was quoted by news agency PTI as saying on Thursday, “After several unsuccessful attempts last year, we succeeded this month in landing helicopters carrying heavy machines to Laspa.”