Govt calls Himalayan state CMs’ meet on development issues
New Delhi, May 18 (PTI) Development of roads, bridges and other infrastructure along the 3,488 km-long Sino-Indian border will be at the top of the agenda during a day-long meeting of chief ministers of five Himalayan states convened by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Gangtok on Saturday. The move comes days after India refused to participate in China's Silk road project 'One Belt, One Road' conference in Beijing and a month after the diplomatic tussle over the Dalai Lama's visit to Arunachal Pradesh. Chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh -- Mehbooba Mufti, Virbhadra Singh, Trivendra Singh Rawat, Pawan Kumar Chamling and Pema Khandu respectively -- are expected to attend the conclave. Construction of roads along the Sino-Indian border, redressal of the situation arising out of lack of infrastructure in the frontier areas and a host of other issues will be discussed at the meeting, an official said. China is known to have improved its infrastructure along the border by constructing roads, bridges, railway network and airports. India shares an 3,488 km-long border with China that runs along the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. The total length of the border in Jammu and Kashmir is 1,597 km, Himachal Pradesh 200 km, Uttarakhand 345 km, Sikkim 220 km and Arunachal Pradesh 1,126 km. The border is not fully demarcated and the process of clarifying and confirming the Line of Actual Control is in progress. The border areas, which are located at high altitudes, have inadequate development and infrastructure facilities. The Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBP) guards this border and has established 173 Border Out Posts (BOPs) . Out of these BOPs, there are 35 BOPs in the western sector (Jammu and Kashmir), 71 BOPs in the middle sector (Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand) and 67 BOPs in the eastern sector (Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh). The central government is at present constructing 73 roads of operational significance along the border. Out of these 73 roads, 27 roads with a total length of 804.93 km are being constructed by the Ministry of Home Affairs in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh at an estimated cost of Rs 1,937 crore. Till April 30 this year, work on 672.46 kms including 409.53 kms of surfacing, has been completed.