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LAC stand-off: BRO’s new highway untraceable by enemy, saves hours and gives 365-day connectivity

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LEH: Amid ongoing tensions with China, the Border Roads Organisation (

BRO

) has almost finished work on a third strategic road, also known as the Nimmu-Padam-Darcha road.

This road will give strategic connectivity to security forces as it will be untraceable for the neighbouring countries.

The two other roads —

Srinagar-Kargil-Leh

and Manali Sarchu-Leh roads — are exposed as they are close to the International Border which makes it easy for the enemy to keep a watch on them.

Sources said the new road will also cut the travel time from Manali to Leh by almost half. While travelling on the old road used to take almost 12-14 hours, on the new road it will take just 6-7 hours.

One of the most important aspects of this road is that unlike others it can remain open almost throughout the year. The two other roads used to stay open for only 6-7 months and were usually closed for a six-month period from November.

BRO engineers said this road is functional now and is ready for heavy vehicles weighing multiple tonnes.

“This road is ready except for a 30-kilometre stretch. Now the Army can use this road. The importance of this road is that the Army can save almost 5-6 hours in transit from Manali to Leh. Also, because this road is untraceable by other countries, Army movement can happen without much security risk. This road is not close to any border,” superintendent engineer, Commander 16 BRTF, MK Jain said.

“Moreover, as this road is at low altitudes, it can stay open for almost 10-11 months for vehicle movement. This road is 258 kilometres long. We have given connectivity by diverting and connecting it to a different road as 30-kilometre stretch is yet to be completed,” he added.

The route mainly used for transportation of goods and personnel is the one from Zojila, which passes through the Drass-Kargil axis to Leh.

The same route was targeted heavily by the Pakistanis during the Kargil war in 1999 and was subjected to frequent bombarding and shelling by their troops from positions in high altitude mountains alongside the road.

The Times of India is an Indian English-language daily newspaper owned by The Times Group. It is the third-largest newspaper in India by circulation and largest selling English-language daily in the world. according to Audit Bureau of Circulations.

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INDIA

Farmers’ ‘victory’, Akali Dal had to bow before their doorstep: Congress

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NEW DELHI: Reacting to the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) quitting the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) over the farm bills issue, the Congress on Saturday said it was the “victory” of farmers that the Akali Dal had to bow before their doorstep and break ties with the ruling coalition.

The SAD is the third major party to walk out of the BJP-led coalition in the last couple of years.

Reacting to the development, Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala hailed it as a “victory” of “farmers-labourers”.

“Supporters of black laws, Akali Dal, had to leave NDA and break ties with the Modi government,” he said.

“They had to bow at the doorstep of farmers-labourers,” Surjewala tweeted, tagging an old clip of Akali Dal leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal defending the farm ordinances in an interview she gave when she was a Union minister.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said, “Clearly @Akali_Dal_ was left with no choice after @BJP4India exposed that @Officeofssbadal and his SAD were fully party to Anti-Farmer legislations.”

“The end of the coalition is only an outcome of 3 months of deceit…of defending the indefensible and misguiding the Punjab farmer,” he said.

आख़िर किसान-मज़दूर की जीत हुई,काले क़ानूनों के समर्थक अकाली दल को NDA छोड़ मोदी सरकार से रिश्ता तोड़ना पड़ा,कि… https://t.co/b4asoYTRBC

— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) 1601142951000

SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal announced the decision to snap ties with the NDA on Saturday night, amid stepped up agitation by farmers in Punjab over the three legislations which were recently passed by Parliament amid Opposition protests.

Badal’s wife and SAD leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal had on September 17 quit the Union Cabinet after he strongly opposed the bills in Lok Sabha, claiming these legislations will “destroy” the agriculture sector in Punjab.

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After quitting govt, BJP’s ‘oldest ally’ Akali Dal walks out of NDA

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CHANDIGARH: Shiromani Akali Dal announced on Saturday night its decision to break its 24-year-old alliance with BJP less than 10 days after it pulled out of PM Narendra Modi’s government with the resignation of Harsimrat Kaur Badal over the passage of three agri-marketing bills in Parliament.

The alliance between SAD and BJP, formed just after the parliamentary elections of 1996, had increasingly seemed untenable as the party was facing immense pressure from its main vote base, the farmers, to completely cut ties with BJP. The party was on the backfoot in Punjab, where spontaneous protests against the agri-marketing bills led by farmers had the party worried about its future, especially as both the ruling Congress party and the opposition Aam Aadmi Party were highlighting the Badal family’s so-called reluctance to quit the alliance with BJP.

SAD’s decision to pull out of the National Democratic Alliance was decided unanimously at an emergency meeting of its core committee, the party’s highest decision-making body. After the three-hour meeting, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal said his party was BJP’s oldest ally but the Modi government did not listen to it on honouring the sentiments of farmers. He described the three agri-marketing bills as “lethal and disastrous for the already beleaguered farmers”. The party said it had quit the alliance in protest against the three agri-marketing bills and the Centre’s “stubborn” refusal to give statutory legislative guarantees to protect assured marketing of farmers’ crops at the MSP and for the Centre’s continued “insensitivity” towards the Punjabi language and issues of the Sikh community.

Shiromani Akali Dal core committee decides unanimously to pull out of the BJP-led #NDA because of the Centre’s stub… https://t.co/r92xKtDjQH

— Sukhbir Singh Badal (@officeofssbadal) 1601140927000

Promising to stand by its core principles of peace, communal harmony and guarding the interest of Punjab, Punjabi in general, and Sikhs and farmers in particular, Sukhbir said the decision was taken in consultation with the people of Punjab, especially party workers and farmers. In a direct attack on the BJP government at the Centre, Sukhbir said with successive decisions the central government had shown its “callous insensitivity” to minority sentiments and has been indifferent to peace and communal harmony in the country, especially in Punjab.

Even after quitting the Modi government, Sukhbir said the SAD had hoped that the Centre would not press on with these “murderous assaults” on farmers and other poor sections who depend on agriculture and trade. “It seems that BJP is totally out of touch with ground realities,” he said. Senior Akali leader Dr Daljit Cheema said the decision to snap ties was taken after much deliberation, adding that the three contentious bills were passed in an undemocratic manner and are being opposed in Punjab, Haryana and other states. “We had even requested President of India Ram Nath Kovind not to approve the bills passed by Parliament,” he said.

Criticising BJP for not paying heed to SAD’s repeated pleas not to force anti-farmer bills, SAD general secretary Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra said there was no point in continuing in the alliance.

Several Insets:

SAD’s Existential Crisis

SAD, which was formed in 1920 and will complete a century in December this year, is going through its worst existential crisis after it was relegated to third spot in the 2017 Punjab assembly election. The party had bagged only 18 seats while rookie AAP secured 20 seats.

Punjab BJP silent:

Despite repeated attempts, Punjab BJP president Ashwani Sharma was not available for comment after SAD pulled out of the alliance with the party. He will be addressing a press conference on Sunday, said a party spokesperson.

Desperate case of political compulsion: Amarinder

Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh has termed the Akali decision to quit the NDA as nothing more than a desperate case of political compulsion for the Badals, who, he said, were effectively left with no other option after BJP’s public criticism of SAD over the farm bills.

‘No alliance important before principles’

In Patiala on Saturday afternoon, Sukhbir Badal had indicated the possible snapping of ties with BJP just hours before the actual announcement when he said for his party no alliance was more important than principles. Claiming that his party was neither informed nor asked before passing the bills, he said SAD would not allow the end of the MSP regime.

“If Pain & Protests of 3 cr punjabis fail to melt the rigid stance of GoI, it’s no longer the #NDA envisioned by Vajpayee ji & Badal sahab. An alliance that turns a deaf ear to its oldest ally & a blind eye to pleas of those who feed the nation is no longer in the interest of Pb. (sic)”

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SAD walks out of NDA alliance

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CHANDIGARH: Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) oldest ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) walked out of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition in protest against the three farm bills and for continues ‘insensitivity’ towards Punjabi language and issues pertaining to Sikh community.

Terming the bills anti-farmers and anti-Punjab, the core committee of the party decided unanimously to pull out of the BJP -led NDA alliance. The party held the centre’s “stubborn” refusal to give statutory legislative guarantees to protect assured marketing of farmers crops on MSP and its continued insensitivity to Punjabi and Sikh issues like excluding Punjabi language as official language in Jammu and Kashmir the reasons for the decision.

Harsimrat Kaur Badal, the lone representative of the party in the Union Cabinet, had resigned on September 17.

The meeting was presided over by the SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal who said that SAD will continue to stand by its core principles of peace, communal harmony and guard the interest of Punjab, Punjabi in general and Sikhs and farmers in particular. He said that the decision has been taken in consultation with the people of Punjab especially party workers and farmers. Badal said that the bills on agricultural marketing brought by the BJP government are lethal and disastrous for the already beleaguered farmers.

He said the SAD was the oldest ally of the BJP, but the government did not listen to repeated pleas of honouring the sentiments of farmers. The SAD leader said that the party opposed these bills in the parliament and voted against them.

He said that even after quitting the union government, the SAD had hoped that the centre would not press on with these ” murderous assaults” on farmers and other poor sections who depend on agriculture and trade. “It seems that the BJP is totally out of touch with ground realities,” said Badal,

He said that despite our best efforts, the BJP government did not honour the sentiments of farmers. He said that the farmers are the backbone of the national economy and it is in the national interest that the government should stand by them. Adding, he said that with successive decisions, the present government has shown its callous insensitivity to minority sentiments and has been indifferent to the peace and communal harmony in the country, especially in Punjab.

Senior Akali leader Dr Daljit Cheema said that the decision has been taken after much deliberation. He further said that these bills were passed in an undemocratic manner and are being opposed in Punjab, Haryana and other states. “We had even requested President of India Ram Nath Kovind not to approve the bills passed by the parliament,” said Dr Daljit Cheema.

While slamming BJP for not paying heed to repeated pleas of SAD not to force anti-farmers bills, Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra said that there is no point in continuing in alliance.

SAD had first forged an alliance with Bharatiya Jana Sangh, BJP’s predecessor, during state assembly elections in 1969. It later entered into coalition with BJP in 1997 during the state election. SAD joined BJP-led alliance at the centre in 1998.

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