New Delhi: Amid soaring border tension between India and China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, Zanskar counsellor on Sunday levelled serious charges on the Congress and accused the party of purposefully delaying the construction of Leh-Manali road from 2004-2014.
The decision to construct the Leh-Manali road was taken by the then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee in June 2000. The 8.8-km-long tunnel is the world’s longest above an altitude of 3,000 metres.
Speaking to the Zee News, Lakpa said, “The construction of the Leh-Manali road, which is of great importance in terms of national security, was delayed in the UPA government. From 2004 to 2014, no work was done on any important road, clearly indicating that the Congress showed negligence in the construction of Leh-Manali road, which was to be completed in 2007. The Vajpayee government had approved the Leh-Manali road project.”
Notably, the UPA government had reportedly reduced the budget fund allocation for infrastructure. In 2016, the Narendra Modi government not only increased the budget but also accelerated the construction of the crucial road-tunnel.
From 2008-2016, Rs 3,300 to 4,600 crore were allotted for infrastructure while in 2017-18, its budget was increased to Rs 5,450 crore.
Rs 6,700 crores in 2018-19, Rs 8,050 crores in 2019-2020 and Rs 11,800 crores in 2020-2021 was announced for the infrastructure by the current government in the Centre.
According to a CAG report, at least 61 roads were to be built by the year 2012, but only 22 roads could have been built till 2016. Rs 4,536 crore was spent on these 22 roads while the cost of the entire project was Rs 4,622 crore, i.e. only half of the project was completed in 98 per cent of the total budget allocated.