The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) on Friday criticized sluggish progress in the construction of strategically important roads being built by the Border Roads Organization (BRO) along the Indo-China frontier.
Out of the 73 roads being built along the border, the execution of 61 projects with a total length of 3,409.27km and an estimated cost of Rs4,644 crore was entrusted to the BRO, CAG said in a report on the defence services. Twelve roads were to be built by other agencies such as the Central Public Works Department (CPWD), National Buildings Construction Corp. (NBCC) and state public works departments.
“It was observed that out of 61 ICBRs (Indo-China border roads), only 15 roads were completed by 2012 and out of the balance 46 roads, only seven were completed by March 2016,” the CAG report said.
In July 2016, in response to a question in the Lok Sabha, minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju said the projects would be completed only by 2020, owing to the difficult terrain.
“The proposal was expected to be completed in the year 2012-13 but the executive agencies have not adhered to the time schedule due to very high altitude and mountainous, rugged and difficult terrain,” Rijiju said.
According to the CAG, even the roads that had been “completed” were not fit for use.
“User feedback indicated that there were issues like improper gradient, undulating surface, improper turning radius, minimum passing places and unsatisfactory riding comfort in the 17 out of the 24 roads selected for audit. Even the six roads which had been completed at a cost of Rs164 crore were not fit for running specialized vehicles and equipment because of the above limitations,” the CAG report added.
“Realistic annual works plan for execution of work should be framed taking into account the resources, terrain, climatic conditions and limited working season. The construction of roads and mid-way correction of roads as per the requirement of users should be attended to. Quality control mechanism for monitoring the quality of work need to be enforced scrupulously by deploying adequate staff and through third-party inspections,” the audit report added.