DEFENCE INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS IN LADAKH
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Context: To enhance infrastructure capacity of the forward areas in Ladakh, the Army is implementing a wide range of measures, which will boost operational capabilities of forces deployed in the high-altitude hostile terrain.
- The impetus to expand operational infrastructure in Northern Command in general and Ladakh in particular has come in the past couple of years.
- This has included induction of new generation plant equipment, such as heavy excavators, spider excavators and light weight crawler rock drills.
- As per an estimate provided by the Engineers Branch of the Army HQs, approximately 150 km of operational tracks have been constructed in Northern Command, including works like drains, surface and causeways constructed concurrently to enhance their longevity.
- A road is under construction that will provide alternative connectivity to Western Ladakh and the Zanskar Valley directly from the Manali axis.
- In addition to roads, in order to upgrade the bridges on Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldi (DS-DBO) road to higher specifications, 35 bridges have been planned as permanent/Extra Wide Bailey bridges.
- Also, to cater to operational needs of formations deployed in high altitudes, trials for constructing assault bridges, such as the indigenous Sarvatra bridge, have been carried out for the first time ever.
- New landing craft have been inducted in eastern Ladakh by the Army, which has given a huge impetus to the patrolling capabilities of the units deployed there.
- Habitat and technical storage to house assets for 22,000 troops and approximately 450 heavy vehicles, including tanks and artillery guns, have been constructed in the past two years
- Construction of tunnels, caverns and underground ammunition stores are in progress.
- In addition, Border Roads Organisation has recently been entrusted with the task of constructing one of India’s highest airfields at Nyoma, which at present is an advanced landing ground with unpaved surface.