Project DANTAK completes 60 years in Bhutan | Daily Current Affairs 2021
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Project DANTAK completes 60 years in Bhutan

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Project DANTAK which is one of the oldest Projects of the Border Roads Organization (BRO) recently commemorated its Diamond Jubilee in Bhutan.

Highlights:

  • Indian Ambassador to Bhutan Smt Ruchira Kamboj laid a floral wreath at the DANTAK Memorial in Simtokha on April 24, 2021.
  • Commandant, Indian Military Training Team (IMTRAT) Maj Gen Sanjeev Chauhan and Chief Engineer DANTAK Brig Kabir Kashyap also paid their respects at the memorial.
  • It was a fitting tribute to the sacrifices made by personnel of DANTAK in strengthening the bonds of friendship between India and Bhutan.

Background:

  • Over 1,200 DANTAK personnel laid down their lives while constructing important infrastructure in Bhutan.
  • Project DANTAK was established on April 24, 1961 as a result of the visionary leadership of His Majesty the Third King and then Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru.
  • DANTAK was tasked to construct the pioneering motorable roads in the Kingdom.
  • Over the years, the Project has completed approximately 1600 km of blacktopped roads and 120 km of tracks in Bhutan with 5000 meters of bridges over them.
  • DANTAK completed the road connecting Samdrup Jongkhar to Trashigang in 1968. In the same year, Thimphu was connected to Phuentsholing by DANTAK. Many Bhutanese had also volunteered to work with DANTAK.
  • Some other notable projects executed by the project include the construction of Paro Airport, Yonphula Airfield, Thimphu – Trashigang Highway, Telecommunication & Hydro Power Infrastructure, Sherubtse College, Kanglung and India House Estate.
  • The medical and education facilities established by DANTAK in far flung areas were often the first in those locations.
  • The food outlets along the road introduced the Bhutanese to Indian delicacies and developed a sweet tooth in them. The famous Takthi Canteen midway between Phuentsholing and Thimphu has been a compulsory stop for travelers.

Indo-Bhutan Relationship:

  • The Indo-Bhutan Treaty of Peace and Friendship, 1949 was signed between India and Bhutan which provides for, among other things, perpetual peace and friendship, free trade and commerce and equal justice to each other’s citizens.
  • In 2007, the treaty was re-negotiated, and provisions were included to encourage Bhutan’s sovereignty, abolishing the need to take India’s guidance on foreign policy.
  • Both of them share multilateral forums such as South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal), BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) etc.
  • India is Bhutan’s largest trading partner.
  • Mutually beneficial hydro-power cooperation with Bhutan forms the core of bilateral economic cooperation.
  • The 720 MW Mangdechhu was commissioned in August 2019. HEPs namely, 1200 MW Punatsangchhu-I, 1020 MW Punatsangchhu-II and Kholongchhu HEP (600 MWs) are under various stages of implementation.

BRO:

  • It refers to the Border Roads Organization.
  • In order to ensure coordination and expeditious execution of projects, the Government of India (GoI) set up the Border Roads Development Board (BRDB) with the Prime Minister as Chairman of the Board and Defence Minister as Deputy Chairman.
  • The BRO was formed on 7 May 1960 to secure India’s borders and develop infrastructure in remote areas of the north and north-east states of the country.
  • It develops and maintains road networks in India’s border areas and friendly neighboring countries.
  • It is responsible for the construction and maintenance of roads along the borders with China and Pakistan. Officers from the Border Roads Engineering Service (BRES) and personnel from the General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) form the parent cadre of the Border Roads Organisation.
  • BRO has been entirely brought under the Ministry of Defence.
  • Earlier it received funds from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
  • The current Director General of BRO is Lt. Gen.Harpal Singh.

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