In this episode of the State of the Economy podcast, Dalip Singh, interviews Lieutenant General Rajiv Chaudhry, VSM, Director General of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO). The podcast delves into the state of India’s border infrastructure development and the challenges faced due to hostile topography.

Chaudhry talks about the significant role played by the BRO in enhancing security preparedness and socio-economic development in border areas since its inception in 1960.

Chaudhry explains how the BRO has diversified its operations over the last six decades, including the construction of roads, bridges, accommodations, border fencing, airfields, and tunnels. The organisation is renowned for its efficiency, quality, and cost-effectiveness in executing these projects.

He highlights the recent achievements of the BRO, particularly in the last two years, during which they completed and inaugurated 205 infrastructure projects.

Regarding the pace of work and the impact of the 2020 border standoff with China in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley, Chaudhry affirms that BRO’s work has accelerated significantly. The government has increased the budget allocation for infrastructure development, with a huge jump in the capital budget in just two years.

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When discussing the challenges related to environmental clearances, Chaudhry reveals that the government’s recent forest clearance bill (Forest Conservation Amendment Bill 2023) has exempted strategic projects within 100 kilometres of the border from forest clearances. This exemption has significantly reduced the time required to initiate projects.

The interview also touches on how technology is aiding in reducing costs, time, and the execution of work in harsh conditions. The BRO is utilising innovative methods such as using steel slag and plastic waste for road construction, pre casting components, and stabilising slopes to save the environment and make the roads more durable.

Furthermore, Chaudhry emphasises the BRO’s commitment to adopting green practices, such as using carbon-neutral habitats in regions with extreme temperatures. Listen in!

(Host: Dalip Singh, Producer: Nabodita Ganguly)


About the State of the Economy podcast

India’s economy has been hailed as a bright spot amid the general gloom that seems to have enveloped the rest of the world. But several sectors continue to stutter even as others seem set to fire on all cylinders. To help you make sense of the bundle of contradictions that the country is, businessline brings you podcasts with experts ranging from finance and marketing to technology and start-ups.