Labour­ers from J’khand to lay roads on China bor­der

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - NEWS - Rahul Singh and Sune­tra Choud­hury let­ters@hin­dus­tan­

NEW DELHI: The de­fence min­istry has sought 11 spe­cial trains to move work­ers from Jhark­hand to Jammu and Chandigarh from where they will be taken to ar­eas close to the China bor­der for build­ing roads, three of­fi­cials fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter aid on con­di­tion of anonymity.

The move comes even as In­dian and Chi­nese sol­diers are eyeball to eyeball at four lo­ca­tions along the Line of Ac­tual Con­trol in Ladakh.

“There is no ques­tion of halt­ing work on the road projects be­cause of the stand­off that could go on for weeks. The work­ing sea­son has be­gun and we can­not waste time,” said one of the of­fi­cials cited above. He said some work has al­ready started on the strate­gic Dar­buk-Shyok-Daulet Beg Oldie road in Ladakh.

A sec­ond of­fi­cial said 11,815 work­ers will be trans­ported on the 11 trains, and then be fer­ried to bor­der ar­eas in Ladakh and J&K, HP and Ut­tarak­hand, where the BRO is constructi­ng im­por­tant roads. The Union home min­istry asked the rail­way min­istry on May 22 to ar­range the spe­cial trains from Jhark­hand to Jammu and Chandigarh, said the sec­ond of­fi­cial. This per­son said Union home min­is­ter Amit Shah dis­cussed the is­sue of work­ers with Jhark­hand CM He­mant Soren on Thurs­day when he spoke to chief min­is­ters about the next phase of In­dia’s exit from the on­go­ing lock­down. “Most of the work­ers are from Dumka. The state govern­ment will let the Cen­tre know when they can go and work in the bor­der ar­eas.” Home min­istry of­fi­cials said the trains will be op­er­ated as per the stan­dard op­er­at­ing pro­ce­dures on the move­ment of stranded work­ers dur­ing the lock­down. China has mar­shalled close to 5,000 sol­diers and de­ployed tanks and ar­tillery guns on its side of the dis­puted bor­der in the Ladakh sec­tor where In­dia has also sent mil­i­tary re­in­force­ments. HT on April 28 re­ported BRO’s plans to in­duct up to 40,000 work­ers to carry out the con­struc­tion of key roads and tun­nels in far-flung ar­eas in the for­ward ar­eas along the China bor­der de­spite Covid-19.

“In­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment along the bor­der ar­eas is an im­por­tant re­quire­ment for both mil­i­tary and civil­ian pur­poses. In­fra­struc­ture build­ing in our ar­eas will con­tinue as per the plan,” said Lt Gen SL Narasimhan (retd), a top China ex­pert and a Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­vi­sory Board mem­ber.

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