New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday dedicated to the nation 63 bridges built by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in six states and two union territories in sync with the government’s focus on enhancing border infrastructure.

Singh, on a three-day visit to Ladakh, inaugurated the bridges at an event held at Kyungam, 88 km from Leh.

The event was attended by Lt Governor of Ladakh RK Mathur, General Officer-Commanding-in-Chief of Northern Command Lt Gen YK Joshi, Director General of Border Roads Organisation Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhry and other senior civil and military officials.

Chief ministers of Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim were among those who attended the event virtually.

Officials said the inauguration of a 50-metre-long bridge constructed on the Leh-Loma road in Ladakh was significant as it will help in the movement of troops and other military hardware.

“This single span steel superstructure bridge, which replaces an existing bailey bridge, will ensure unhindered movement of heavy weapon systems, including guns, tanks and other specialised equipment,” the defence ministry said.

The Leh-Loma Road that connects with places such as Chumathang, Hanley and Tso Morori Lake is vital for access to forward areas in eastern Ladakh.

In addition, Singh virtually inaugurated 62 more bridges – 11 in Ladakh, four in Jammu and Kashmir, three in Himachal Pradesh, six in Uttarakhand, eight in Sikkim, one each in Nagaland and Manipur and 29 in Arunachal Pradesh.

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The combined cost of the projects is Rs 240 crore and they will provide a tremendous boost to connectivity in the border areas, the ministry said.

Speaking on the occasion, the defence minister lauded the BRO’s commitment towards improving connectivity to far-flung areas, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that some of these bridges will become a lifeline for many villages located in remote areas.

Underlining the importance of connectivity, especially in border areas for the development of a nation, he reaffirmed the government’s resolve to ensure infrastructure development in far-flung border areas.

Singh said the inauguration of 63 bridges is an important step in that direction and expressed confidence that the new infrastructure will play a crucial role in strengthening security.

On the government’s decision to bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh as two separate union territories, he stated that the “strong and visionary steps” have bolstered national unity, led to a major reduction in terrorist activities and opened new avenues for the socio-economic development of the people.

On the development of Ladakh, Singh said a number of welfare schemes are being implemented, including Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, National Rural Livelihood Mission, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, showing the government’s resolve towards the welfare of the region.

He also reaffirmed the government’s commitment to start the democratic process in the region.

“With the inauguration of 63 bridges in one go, BRO has surpassed its own record of 44 bridges launched in 2020. These 63 bridges, combined with 12 roads dedicated to the nation by Rajnath Singh on June 17, 2021, form a bouquet of 75 infrastructure projects,” the defence ministry said.

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