By Ajit K Dubey
Nimu (Ladakh) [India], July 6 (ANI): The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has built three new strategic bridges near Nimu which are helping the Indian Army move its tanks and towed artillery guns to the Eastern Ladakh sector along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Visiting the bridge in Nimu, ANI team saw the BRO has replaced a bailey bridge which could only be used for 24-tonne vehicles with the new one which can be used by vehicles up to 70 tonnes. The task was accomplished in a record time of three months.
"This bridge is at kilometre 397. Earlier, there were three bottlenecks at kilometre 362, 361 and 397. This bridge has been constructed in a record time of three months. On the request of the Army, we made a 50-metre long steel structure bridge which can carry any sort of load," BRO Executive Engineer B Kishan told ANI.
"This is an R-70 class bridge (which can be used by vehicles up to 70 tonnes) and it can take any sort of load to the forward posts," he said.
Before January this year, C-17 heavy-lift aircraft and Ilyushin-76 transport aircraft were mainly used by the Army to ferry tanks from lower formations to Ladakh region mainly due to these three bottlenecks on the Srinagar-Leh highway.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited Nimu last week and met soldiers injured in the Galwan Valley clash with Chinese troops on June 15.
Asked if the construction of these bridges has helped in the movement of troops and heavy equipment to the forward areas, the BRO officer said it will fulfil requirements of the Army and also meet the civilian needs.
"Yes, sure, this has helped a lot. It can carry any sort of load of the Indian Army or the civilian requirement. It is a class 70 R bridge and there will be no hindrance to the movement of Indian Army or civil," he said.
Asked about the frequent Chinese objections over road construction activities by India in the Ladakh sector, Kishan said, "In BRO, we have the mandate to construct roads. BRO has nothing to do with objections as we do whatever assignment is given to us."
The ANI team next reached the second bridge at the Basgo location near Nimu which has again been rebuilt and would be ready for full use in next few days by heavy vehicles including trucks towing artillery guns and tank boat vehicles.
BRO officials had said earlier that they had stopped the flow of the small drain flowing below the bridge to allow the movement of the heavy vehicles from the side of the under-construction bridge.
The third bridge has been built at a place called Ule Topo, which is further ahead on the Srinagar-Leh highway, from where the armoured vehicles are brought by road.
ANI team could see the Army convoys involved in the transfer of troops and equipment using the bridge for smooth movement towards Leh and to forward areas in Eastern Ladakh from there.
The BRO looks after 1,200 km of the LAC in Ladakh sector along with China and over 250 kilometres of Line of Control and Actual Ground Position Line with Pakistan.
BRO also maintains the airfields in Leh, Daulat Beg Oldi, Thoise and Kargil which are crucial for maintaining connectivity with the forward posts and towns. (ANI)