Govt accepts Shekatkar recommendations to boost Border Roads projects - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Monday 18 May 2020

Govt accepts Shekatkar recommendations to boost Border Roads projects

By Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 19th May 20

In a major boost to building strategic roads along India’s northern border with China, the government on Monday accepted and implemented three important recommendations relating to border infrastructure, made by the Shekatkar Committee in 2016.

The recommendations accepted were aimed at speeding up road construction in remote areas, providing easier access to the military and leading to socio economic development in the border areas. 

First, the government has implemented the Shekatkar Committee recommendation “to outsource road construction work beyond optimal capacity of Border Roads Organisation (BRO).”

This is aimed at bringing in private sector road construction agencies and taking the load off a heavily overstretched BRO, which is struggling to maintain the existing network of borders roads and highways; while also building new roads to areas that have remained outside the road network since independence. 

To ensure oversight, the government has made it mandatory to adhere to the Engineering Procurement Contract (EPC) for executing all projects that cost more than Rs 100 crore.

Second, the government has accepted a Shekatkar Committee recommendation that makes it easier to introduce modern construction plant, equipment and machinery. For this, the BRO’s “enhanced procurement powers” for domestic and foreign procurements from have been increased from Rs 7.5 crore to Rs 100 crore. 

This is deemed essential, with the BRO engaged in sophisticated road and tunnel construction projects, such as the Atal Behari Vajpayee Tunnel near Manali that underpasses the Rohtang Pass; and the 80-kilometre-long road on the Kailash-Mansarovar Yatra route from Dharchula (Uttarakhand) to Lipulekh (China Border). 

For projects like these, the “BRO has recently inducted Hot-Mix Plant 20/30 TPH for speedier laying of roads, remote operated hydraulic Rock Drills DC-400 R for hard rock cutting, a range of F-90 series of self-propelled snow-cutters/blowers for speedier snow clearance,” stated the defence ministry (MoD).

The BRO is also introducing advanced new technologies to speed up construction, such as precision blasting, use of geo-textiles for soil stabilisation, using cementitious base for pavements and plastic coated aggregates for surfacing. 

“With the empowerment of field officers through enhanced delegation of financial and administrative powers, there has been significant improvement in faster financial closure of works,” said the MoD

Finally, completing land acquisition and obtaining statutory clearances such as forest and environmental clearance will now be pre-requisites for approving the Detailed Project Report (DPR) for a new road. Work can be awarded only after at least 90 per cent of the statutory clearances have been obtained.

The Shekatkar Committee submitted a total of 99 recommendations. Details of the report and its recommendations have not been placed in the public domain as it “covers operational aspects of the armed forces, disclosure of which is not in the interest of national security,” the government told Parliament in February 2019.


  1. The changes are visible since 2014. The 2004-2014 were dark period particularly for Indian need to mention that.

  2. The Atal Tunnel !

    The Indian Drama,is to fool the dumb Indians, and to impress their White Masters. The state of Indians is so pathetic, that they ,in 2020,are still mesmerised, by so-called Infra Projects - which can be blown to bits by the Chinese Precision Guided Ammo - assuming PlLA jets do not bomb it !

    The Indian ADS which shot down their own Chopper in Bugdam - will use Indian ADS toprotect their tunnel from Chinese Missiles ? Also ,Indians have no ability to strike similar Chinese Infra , in Tibet - except by sending their Jets, deep into Tibet - which will be shot down, by Chinese PLAF and ADS. In any case, Chinese have many tunnels and many logistics options - while India has ONLY 1 TUNNEL..

    Y have the Indians Built this tunnel ? Each tunnel has an entry and an exit,and an approach and an exit road.In the winters, there would be snow,ice and avalanches, and so,the roads will be unusable or will slow down,the logistics, and in some cases, the roads will be closed down.

    Then,the Tunnel covers less than 15%,of the distance,to the target destination.dindooohindoo

    Therefore,if the PLA bombs the entry OR the exit of the Tunnel,or the Approach road to OR beyond the tunnel
    or the 100s of Kms of road, after the tunnel - THE TUNNEL WILL BECOME UNUSABLE ! If the road is bombed then the chances of a landslide, are almost 100% ! And if the approach roads ,to the landslide, are also bombed, no crane will reach the location, and the cranes will have to BE AIRLIFTED ,by specialised Choppers which will take time to organise,and will be sitting ducks, even for MANPADs.

    So Y did the Indians build the tunnel ? To save time ? For what ? In war, Time has the proxy of "Inventory".If time is a vagary of war, then you carry more inventories (of men ,munitions, spares and food).If a war breaks out,the Tunnel will be destroyed, by the PLA - it cannot be defended, by Indian ADS.

    Also,in matters of military logistics,in a war scenario - COST is NOT a Factor - and in any case,saving a few hours in logistics will NOT yield any material reductions in road freight - but will save the air freighting (by C-130s or Choppers)

    Even if a surge is planned by the Indians - it is best done by air - as time is of the essence. Of course the aircargo will be shotdown - but it is easier to blow up the stationery target,id.est.,The Tunnel,and its matrix of impotence.

    The Chinese say that the Indians took 15 years to make the tunnel. The Chinese must understand that the Hindoo God Rama (whose wife ran away,with Ravana- the King of Lanka),took 12 years to make a bridge of stones, to Lanka - and the bridge was MADE ENTIRELY BY APES.



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