Government to spend ₹2 crore per km of roads along China border

There are at least 168 villages along the border with China that do not have any road connectivity.

Updated - May 13, 2024 06:41 am IST

Published - May 12, 2024 10:28 pm IST - New Delhi

In the past five months, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs has sanctioned 113 roads in Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim. File

In the past five months, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs has sanctioned 113 roads in Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim. File | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The government is likely to spend over ₹2 crore on each kilometre of road to be constructed along the China border in Uttarakhand and Sikkim under the Vibrant Village Programme (VVP), according to the project’s details.

In the past five months, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has sanctioned 113 roads under the VVP in Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim, to improve connectivity in areas along the China border. While 105 roads have been sanctioned in Arunachal Pradesh, five roads in Uttarakhand and three roads in Sikkim have also been approved.

There are at least 168 villages along the border with China that do not have any road connectivity.

According to the MHA’s sanction letter, 43.96 km of roads are to be built a cost of ₹119 crore at Pithoragarh district in Uttarakhand. Each kilometre of road is expected to cost ₹2.7 crore. Once constructed, the “asset” will have to be maintained by the State government.

In Sikkim, around 18.73 km of roads and 350 metres of steel bridges have been sanctioned under the VVP at the Chungthang and Mangan block in north Sikkim at a cost of ₹96 crore. Each kilometre of road construction will cost ₹2.4 crore.

The Ministry has also asked State governments to monitor construction activity by installing GPS-enabled vehicle tracking devices.

Watch | Arunachal border tussle | India’s diplomatic challenges on LAC

“States shall ensure the installation of GPS system in key machinery and equipment engaged during execution of road works under VVP,” the MHA said in a communication sent to the Uttarakhand government.

The Union Cabinet approved the VVP programme on February 15, 2023 to cover 2,967 villages in 46 border blocks of 19 districts in Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, and Ladakh. One of the stated objectives of the VVP is to stop migration in the population residing along the border.

The MHA’s report on demands for grants tabled in the Parliament on March 20, 2023 stated that the objective is to motivate people to continue to stay there and “help to gather intelligence from the people of border villages”.

Around 68% of the total villages that will be covered in the first phase of VVP are in Arunachal Pradesh. The number of villages that will benefit from the scheme in Ladakh are 35, while 75 villages in Himachal Pradesh, 46 villages in Sikkim, and 51 villages in Uttarakhand have been identified.

Out of the ₹4,800 crore total budget allotted for VVP for the financial years 2023-24, 2024-25 and 2025-26, more than half, that is, about ₹2,500 crore, is to be spent on road construction. As reported by The Hindu in December 2022, China is expanding its chain of model villages or Xiaokang (‘moderately prosperous’) villages close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) opposite to Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.