Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday launched the BRO Tourism portal that will facilitate online booking of guided tours to the road infrastructure projects of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO).
According to the Ministry of Defence, in the initial phase, e-Booking for a guided tour to Atal Tunnel, Rohtang will be available through the portal. Soon, infrastructure projects in Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh etc will be included for guided tours.
The world's highest motorable road at Umling La Pass, state-of-the-art bi-lane Sela Tunnel and Nechiphu Tunnel are among the projects which will be included.
During the launch event, the first ticket from the website was presented to the Defence Minister by Director General Border Roads (DGBR) Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhry.
Rajnath Singh exuded confidence that the website will go a long way in boosting tourism in far-flung areas.
He said, in the coming times, it will be the most accessible and reliable source of information about the history and importance of the projects executed by the BRO and will provide a peek into the upcoming projects as well.
Singh said after the construction of the Atal Tunnel, the number of tourists in that area increased six times. He made special mention of the setting up of BRO Cafes at 75 places in far-flung areas, expressing confidence that these cafes will provide basic amenities to the travellers, promote tourism in remote areas and strengthen the local economy.
He emphasised the importance of connectivity and infrastructure in the development of the nation, saying that roads, bridges and tunnels in border areas play a central role in ensuring the socio-economic development of the region, besides catering to the needs of the Armed Forces.
"Earlier, infrastructure development in border areas was never a priority, fearing its misuse by our adversaries during trying times. We totally changed this approach. Infrastructure development of any region is linked with the development of the nation as well as the global situation. With changing times, all areas move ahead in the path of development. We are committed to ensuring the development of the border areas as well. The recent announcement of a record increase in the capital budget of the BRO reaffirms that commitment," Singh said.
He spoke about the Huri village of Arunachal Pradesh, the residents of which returned after the BRO ensured connectivity with the district headquarters. "Atal tunnel and Umling La pass are the biggest achievements of the BRO which have put India on the world map.
The portal contains the photo and video galleries of tourist destinations and local flora and fauna, besides providing information about the BRO, the nature of works it has executed in border states and the challenges faced.
It also hosts technical information related to construction for those working in the field of civil engineering, especially students and academia.
With the aim to connect youth with the subjects related to defence, Singh urged the officials of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to devise a plan to promote defence tourism. He suggested exploring the possibility of organising visits to historic battlefields, war memorials, war museums, training academies or other similar defence establishments for people with the help of industry, start-ups and ex-servicemen, keeping in mind the security and sanctity of the places.