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It’s time to get your act together, bro

In October last year, Krishna Chaudhary, the Director General of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, declared that enhancement of infrastructure along the China-India border was proceeding at a “galloping

Published: 16th March 2017 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th March 2017 02:42 AM   |  A+A-

In October last year, Krishna Chaudhary, the Director General of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, declared that enhancement of infrastructure along the China-India border was proceeding at a “galloping pace”. The ITBP, tasked with protecting the 3,488-km long Sino-India border, claimed that 172 new border outposts out of a total of 176 have been raised on this border, while construction of border roads in states which share borders with China, had been “fast-paced”.

India’s Comptroller and Auditor General, however, disagrees. In its latest report titled Performance Audit on ‘Construction of Indo-China Border Roads by Border Roads Organisation’, it points to several acts of omission and commission in construction work conducted by the BRO. “During the course of regular audit of BRO, it was observed that in spite of significance imparted to Indo-China Border Roads (ICBRs), completion of roads was considerably delayed and the work executed faced various technical, financial as well as quality issues,” says the report, which covers  the period from 2012-13 to 2015-16. To start with, there were huge discrepancies between the initial survey data and the actual conditions on the ground, which led to delays as well as cost overruns, it says. Of 24 ICBRs selected for audit, four roads were completed by March 2012 and two were completed by March 2016. Of the 61 roads supposed to have been completed by 2012, only 22 roads had been completed by March 2016, despite an expenditure of Rs 4, 536 crore against an estimated cost of Rs 4,644 crore, it says. “One job, sanctioned in 1991, was yet to be completed even after a lapse of 25 years.”

The CAG cited numerous instances of defective construction of roads which led not just to delays, but also “infructuous expenditure of Rs 63.20 crore”. This has “a serious bearing on the operational capability of the armed forces in strategically sensitive areas”, it says. Meanwhile, China is building four-lane highways along its borders where it can even land planes.

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