NEW DELHI: In an apparent bid to play catch up with China in shoring up the border infrastructure, the Ministry of Defence has decided to delegate the financial and administrative powers to the Border Roads Organization (BRO).
The powers have been delegated right to the level of the chief engineers to ensure that the projects of national importance aren’t held up on account of procedural issues.
Increasing five times the financial power of chief engineers, the Ministry of Defence has stated that it could now award projects for both the departmental and contractual works for Rs 50 crore each compared to Rs 10 crore earlier. The additional director-general could now award works up to Rs 75 crore as against Rs 20 crore earlier and the director general would have the financial powers to award works of Rs 100 crore compared to Rs 50 crore earlier.
Ministry of Defence in further hints that the government is taking the border infrastructure development on priority has stated that there is a need to replace obsolete machinery with the BRO with modern equipment for whose procurement also the financial powers of the officials have been enhanced.
“The Ministry of Defence intends to bring transformational changes in the organisation in order to improve the pace of execution of works and achieve the desired outcomes as per the requirements of the armed forces,” the government said in a media statement on Sunday.
The move has come at a time when India and China are locked in a standoff over Dokalam in Sikkim even while experts have rued that India hasn’t taken up road infrastructure development in the border areas with the eastern neighbour. The BRO comes under the Ministry of Defence and is tasked with road building works in inaccessible border areas. It has built a long network of roads, bridges and flyovers in Bhutan as well.