The state government has raised fresh concerns with the Centre over the lack of infrastructure along the China border and has requested the defence minister to boost the road, telecommunication network and the air connectivity in remote areas in Lahaul Spiti close to the border. India and China share a 230-km border.
The Western Command headquarters and Military Operations Directorate has endorsed the construction of an airport in Rangrik. The case has been forwarded to the defence ministry and the proposal is pending with them. The airstrip and the Rangrik aiport, to be built at 12,000-ft, will be used for civil and military purpose with the main aim being to enhance the strategic capabilities and boost tourism.
National Commission Scheduled Tribe (NCST) vice-chairman and Lahaul- Spiti MLA Ravi Thakur met the Union defence minister Manohar Parrikar at his office in New Delhi and apprised him of problems being faced by people of the tribal district.
The military formation in the border area had raised serious questions about the telecommunication network with the present BSNL structure at Sumdoh is inadequate to meet the requirements of troops stationed at the garrison with congestion of traffic lines a main concern.
The army is concentrating on improving the communication network particularly in the Shalkar and the Chittkul village, which is close to China-Occupied-Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR). The army observed that garrisons of the formation are located in remote and tribal areas of the state.
In the wake of the heavy snow fall, the electricity supply gets disrupted consequently the garrisons go without electricity. To get over the problem, formations in the border areas rely mainly on diesel, again hampering the ecological balance.
The army also proposes to set up plants of 100 KWH at Prithi and Sumdoh stations. The army had also forwarded the proposal for setting up a solar plant to Himachal Pradesh Government Energy Department Agency (HIMURJA).
Ravi Thakur requested defence minister Manohar Parrikar to arrange a meeting of department concerned to speed up pending works.
"I requested the minister to provide regular helicopter flights to Lahaul and Spiti during the six months of winters, since the area remains landlocked due to heavy snow on high passes in this period," Thakur said, adding that he sought the early completion of border roads in the district and early completion of Rohtang Tunnel to provide all weather-connectivity to the region. Besides, the NCST vice- chairman demanded that the Central government must construct an airport at Spiti for the combined use of civil and defense purposes.
The state government has also demanded the timely opening of passes like Rohtang, Kunzum, and Baralacha, which connects the district with rest of the country.
Ravi Thakur added that since the district was a sensitive area from the defence point of view, better telecommunication facilities are needed to be created. This includes abolition of spectrum charges and the limit of subscription as a special package to the area.
Key infrastructure demand
The early completion of border roads in the district and early completion of Rohtang Tunnel to provide all weather-connectivity to the region.
Besides, the NCST vice- chairman demanded that the Central government must construct an airport at Spiti for the combined use of civil and defense purposes.
Since the district is a sensitive area from the defence point of view, better telecommunication facilities are needed. Ravi Thakur, Lahaul Spiti MLA