4G mobile services for 1,117 border outposts in next six years: MHA

Four border outposts, three helipads, and 48 km of roads constructed along China border this year; of 379 Ladakh villages approved for 4G saturation, mobile towers set up at only nine sites this year

Updated - December 31, 2023 10:14 pm IST

Published - December 31, 2023 09:39 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Image used for representation purpose only.

Image used for representation purpose only.

The Union government has approved 4G mobile services for more than 1,100 border outposts along India’s international borders, including the border with China border, at a cost of ₹1,545.66 crore, the year-end review of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said.

The MHA said that a tripartite agreement has been signed among the Department of Telecommunications, the MHA, and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited to execute the project over the next six-and-a-half years. It will cover 1,117 border outposts and intelligence posts of the armed forces and the Intelligence Bureau.

This year, however, out of 379 villages and hamlets approved under the 4G saturation project for the Union Territory of Ladakh, mobile phone towers have been established at only nine sites, with the foundation work completed at 34 sites. Since 2020, India and China have been enagaged in a stand-off at multiple locations along the undemarcated Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.

Border road projects

The Ministry said that this year, 48.03 kilometres of roads have been constructed along the China border, while four border outposts and three helipads have been added.

After the June 2020 incident at Galwan in Ladakh, when 20 Indian soldiers were killed in violent clashes with Chinese forces, the Union government sanctioned 32 roads along the China border, according to a report tabled in the Parliament in 2022. The report said that 32 helipads are being constructed and upgraded along the China border.

India shares a 3,488 km border with China, running along Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh.

Explained | How is the government ramping up border infrastructure?

The first phase of the Indo-China border road project (ICBR) was initiated in 2005 when it was decided that the MHA would construct 27 priority roads with a total length of 608 km along the border with China. The second phase of the ICBR project was approved on September 21, 2020.

The Ministry added that 184.39 Km of roads have been constructed along the Bangladesh border, and 120.06 km along the Nepal border.

In all, 88 border outposts were constructed this year, including 20 posts along the Pakistan border, 51 along the Bangladesh border, and 13 on the Bhutan border.

The MHA said that 2.4 km of the border with Myanmar, and 18 km of the border with Pakistan, have been fenced.

Border village development

Strong infrastructure is being built in border areas and efforts are being made to provide the benefits of welfare schemes in border villages while also improving connectivity to these villages, the MHA said. The Ministry added that under the Vibrant Villages programme, comprehensive development of villages on the northern border have been approved, to improve residents’ quality of life.

“This will help in encouraging people to stay in their native locations in border areas and reversing the outmigration from these villages adding to improved security of the border. The scheme will provide funds for development of essential infrastructure and creation of livelihood opportunities in 19 districts and 46 border blocks in four States and 1 UT along the northern border... In the first phase, 663 villages will be taken up in the programme,” the MHA said.

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