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Govt speeding up development of border infra: Defence Ministry

NEW DELHI (PTI): The Defence Ministry on Monday said key recommendations of a high-level panel to speed up creation of key infrastructure along the border areas are being implemented.

A committee headed by Lt Gen DB Shekatkar (retd) recommended a series of reforms for the three armed forces as well as to boost border infrastructure.

In the last few years, the government has been focusing on enhancing road networks along the country's nearly 3,500 KM border with China.

"The government has accepted and implemented three important recommendations of committee of experts (CoE) under the Chairmanship of Lt General D B Shekatkar (Retd) relating to border infrastructure. These were related to speeding up road construction," the ministry said in a statement.

In August 2017, the defence ministry approved 65 reform measures for the Indian Army, which included redeployment of nearly 57,000 officers and personnel of other ranks, based on the recommendations of the Shekatkar committee.

The reform measures included optimisation of signal establishments, closure of military farms and army postal wing in peace locations, as well as restructuring of repair echelons, including base workshops.

"The government has implemented recommendation of CoE to outsource road construction work beyond optimal capacity of Border Roads Organisation. It has been made mandatory to adopt Engineering Procurement Contract (EPC) mode for execution of all works costing more than Rs 100 crore," the ministry said.

Under EPC mode, contractors are liable to pay fine for failing to meet deadlines in execution of projects.

"The other recommendation relating to introduction of modern construction plants, equipment and machinery has been implemented by delegating enhanced procurement powers from Rs 7.5 crore to Rs 100 crore to Border Road Organisation," it said.

The ministry said new technology is also being adopted in laying of roads in border areas as recommended by the CoE.

"The land acquisition and all statutory clearances like forest and environmental clearance are also made part of approval of detailed project report (DPR). Further, with the adoption of EPC mode of execution, it is mandatory to award work only when 90 per cent of the statutory clearances have been obtained," the ministry said.

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