He also laid the foundation stone for the Nechiphu Tunnel on the road to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh for all-weather connectivity

India's border areas now have 44 new permanent bridges, including eight in the strategic Ladakh region which has seen a tense standoff with China, for better connectivity in remote locations.

The new bridges are spread over seven states and union territories and are located mostly near the Northern, Western and Eastern borders. They were dedicated to the nation by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in a virtual ceremony which also saw the foundation stone being laid for the strategic Nechiphu Tunnel in Arunachal Pradesh.

In addition to the eight in Ladakh, these new bridges are located in Jammu and Kashmir (10), Himachal Pradesh (2), Uttarakhand (8), Punjab (4), Sikkim (4) and Arunachal Pradesh (8).

Inaugurating the bridges constructed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), Singh said they hold much strategic importance in terms of meeting transport requirements for the armed forces.

In a tweet later, he said, “The inauguration of 44 bridges today will improve connectivity in the far flung areas of Western, Northern and North East sectors and fulfill the aspirations of local people. They would also meet the transport and logistics requirements of the armed forces throughout the year.”

“These border infrastructure projects are of strategic importance and provide connectivity to remote areas,” he said.

He congratulated the BRO officials saying that dedication of 44 bridges in one go is itself an achievement. “These 44 bridges are spread over seven states and union territories. I congratulate DG Border Roads Organisation and his team for doing exemplary work in challenging times. Inauguration of 44 bridges in one go in itself is a significant achievement,” he said.

Calling it a ‘significant achievement,’ the minister said that the work on the projects was completed in time despite COVID-19 challenges and border tensions.

He said that roads and bridges are the lifeline of any nation and play a vital role in the socio-economic development of far flung regions. Reiterating the Central Government’s commitment to boost development activities in border areas, he said that progress of all projects is regularly being monitored and adequate funds are being provided for their timely execution.

According to the Ministry of Defence, the annual budget of BRO that varied from Rs 3,300 Crores to Rs 4,600 Crores in the years 2008-2016, saw a substantial rise and is pegged at over Rs 11,000 Crores in 2020-21. There was no reduction of this budget despite COVID-19.

BRO completed work on 28 major bridges last year; 102 new bridges were planned for this year of which work on 54 has already been completed.