Meanwhile, near LAC: Airfield takes off, 4 roads get SC green flag
, Tannu Sharma
, Tannu Sharma
, Manu Pubby
: New Delhi, Sat Sep 19 2009
, 04:16 hrs
India activated a crucial air-base in Ladakh today barely 20 km from the Chinese border and, more significantly, got the go-ahead for construction of four strategic roads along the border that will radically improve its ability to promptly induct troops and reinforcements.
The four roads in eastern Ladakh are:
1. Lukumg-Phobrang-Chartse Pt 4433 (77.5 km);
2. Chisumle-Demchok (24 km);
3. Koyal-Chisumle-Zarsar (80 km)
4. Karzok-Chumar (69 km) link.
These had been planned under the integrated border development plan years ago but clearances from the Environment Ministry had been hanging fire for the past two years. The final approval came today from the three-member special environment bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, within 10 minutes of the hearing, as it accepted long-awaited recommendations of the court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC).
These roads are crucial for the armed forces as they provide links to the border in the Pangong Tso lake area which is notorious for transgressions by Chinese troops as well as to the border post of Demchok on the Line of Actual Control.
What was holding up permissions was that all these roads pass through the Changthang cold desert wildlife sanctuary in Ladakh.
The roads are part of broader plan to improve connectivity along the border and had been identified as a priority area by the China Study Group. While pushing for an early clearance of approvals, the Defence Ministry said that the China study group had recommended "a high operational preparedness" in the region by laying down a communication network of roads to ensure mobilization of troops and resources to the affected areas.
The Home Ministry also apprised the CEC that construction "is absolutely necessary for meeting the operational requirement of Army, particularly for the movement of troops and heavy artillery in the time of war."
According to the CEC report, the Koyal-Chisumle-Zarsar
and the Karzok-Chumar Road are proposed to be built by ITBP at the cost of Rs 237 crore and Rs 152 crore respectively.