As the standoff on the eastern border between India and China continues, the Union Home Ministry has asked the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) to construct the stand-alone road from Marsimik La to Hot Spring in Ladakh to ensure access to “vantage points” for security forces. As first reported by The Indian Express (on July 27, 2017), the home ministry had last month cleared the proposal to construct the road at a cost of Rs 120.58 crore.
A home ministry spokesperson said, “The task to construct the road has been given to BRO and they have started mobilisation of resources.” The 32.9-km road will give security forces access to remote areas to the east of Ladakh region, which has earlier witnessed aggression from Chinese forces, officials said. The project, officials added, is part of the India-China Border Road-I, where India is building 73 other roads.
MHA officials said the need for this standalone road was initially proposed by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, which guards the India-China border. At 18,634 feet, Marsimik La is one of the highest motorable passes in the world but has no “pucca” road on the Indian side. The two countries have been engaged in a standoff in Doklam area for the past three weeks.
Officials said that of the 73 roads, 46 are being constructed by the Defence Ministry and 27 by the MHA. “These roads were scheduled to be completed by 2012-13 but the delay is due to a limited working season, combined with logistic issues due to high altitude, rugged and difficult terrain, natural calamities, delay in forest and wildlife clearances, and land acquisition,” MoS (Home) Kiren Rijiju said in a statement before Parliament recently.