In order to facilitate the effective border management, security and development of infrastructure in inaccessible areas adjoining the China Border, a total of 73 strategically important roads were identified by the Government as Indo China Border Roads (ICBRs). Out of these 73 ICBRs, execution of 61 roads having a total length of 3409.27 km with estimated costs of Rs. 4644 crore were entrusted to the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) with their targeted completion by 2012.
Audit of ICBRs was undertaken to assess the performance of BRO. Considering the strategic role of these roads in border management. Since completion of roads was considerably delayed inspite of significance imparted to ICBRs and the works executed faced various technical, financial as well as quality issues. Instances wherein Reconnaissance, Survey and Trace Cut (RSTC) was not carried out properly as the gradient, soil classification, alignment of the road taken at the time of carrying out RSTC were at wide variance with the conditions encountered during the execution. These variances adversely affected the execution of the ICBRs and led to delay as well as cost over-runs. Delays in submission and approval of Annual Works Plan (AWP) were noticed. As a result, Budget Estimates (BEs) for each year were prepared on an ad-hoc basis and the jobs were executed even before the approval of AWPs by the Border Roads Development Board basing it on the AWP projections. Out of 61 ICBRs planned to be completed by 2012, only 22 roads had been completed up to March 2016, despite incurring an expenditure of Rs. 4536 crore (98 percent) against the estimated cost of Rs. 4644 crore. Further, out of 24 ICBRs selected for audit, four roads were completed by March, 2012 and two were completed by March 2016. Thus only 06 roads (25percent) costing Rs. 164 crore were completed up to March 2016, despite incurring an expenditure of Rs. 2713.76 crore for 24 selected ICBRs. Numerous instances of defective construction of roads was noticed, which resulted in delay in completion of strategic roads and also infructuous expenditure of Rs. 63.20 crore on account of corrective action/realignment of roads. This non-completion/ faulty specifications of works have a serious bearing on the operational capability of the armed forces in strategically sensitive areas. Road works executed by the BRO did not adequately meet the users’ requirement. Even six roads which had been completed at a cost of Rs. 164 crore, were not fit for running of specialized vehicles/equipments due to limitations in execution of works. Deployment of GREF personnel was done in remote and hazardous working locations without adequate facilities.