Sunday, June 23, 2024

Glorious BRO Years Of Triumph & Camaraderie Memories Cherished

Chaitali Bag

India’s diverse and challenging terrain along its borders presents a unique set of challenges, exacerbated by unfriendly neighbours. The once impossible Himalayan range is no longer a  barrier, making it difficult to develop infrastructure. The young age of the Himalayas and their steep slopes create further complications. The colonial legacy and limited surveying capabilities of the past have left a complex and unresolved border issue. Addressing these challenges will require innovative solutions and diplomatic efforts to secure India’s borders effectively.

Reflecting on the illustrious journey of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) on its 65th Raising Day the former Director General Lt Gen Harpal Singh recalls his time during his tenure as DGBR.

The theme “Accessing the Inaccessible: Connecting Our Borders and People” truly embodies BRO’s tireless efforts in constructing and maintaining infrastructure in some of the world’s most challenging terrains. Established in 1960, BRO has become a vital force in ensuring connectivity to remote areas, fostering national integration, and promoting socio-economic development. Leading a dedicated team, we achieved remarkable milestones such as the Atal Tunnel at Rohtang, the Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldie (DSDBO) road, and the Sela Tunnel in Arunachal Pradesh, among others. Emphasizing innovation, we integrated cutting-edge technology like geosynthetics and GIS, enhancing operational efficiency and project quality. Our commitment to excellence and resilience has not only transformed landscapes but also touched millions of lives, reinforcing BRO’s vital role in national security and development.

Working in the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) comes with its fair share of challenges. From harsh weather conditions to difficult terrains and remote locations, the obstacles faced by our personnel are significant. However, the unwavering spirit and perseverance of our teams enable us to overcome these adversities. Witnessing our teams work in sub-zero temperatures, navigating landslides, and crossing swollen rivers to ensure the completion of connectivity projects is truly inspiring.

One of the most challenging periods for BRO was during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the constraints and risks posed by the pandemic, BRO continued its operations with minimal disruptions. Success stories during this time, such as the early snow clearance of passes aiding in the Galwan crisis response and achieving connectivity on the Kailash-Mansarovar Yatra route, highlighted the resilience and dedication of our workforce.

The success of BRO is largely attributed to its people. Human resource development and welfare have been key focuses during my tenure. Enhancing training programs, introducing welfare initiatives, and opening the BRO Training School at Pune are steps taken to ensure the well-being and professional growth of our personnel.

In our pursuit of development, we have always been mindful of our responsibility towards the environment. Environmental conservation and sustainability are integral to our operations, with initiatives such as afforestation drives and the use of eco-friendly construction materials being prioritized to minimize ecological impact.

“Looking back at my tenure with BRO, I feel a deep sense of accomplishment and pride. The achievements of BRO are a testament to the collective efforts of every individual who has been part of this remarkable journey. As we celebrate the 65th Raising Day of BRO, we reaffirm our commitment to overcoming new challenges and reaching greater heights in accessing the inaccessible and connecting borders and people.”

The Ex DG extended his heartfelt gratitude to all the personnel of BRO for their unwavering dedication and hard work. “Together, we have built a legacy that will inspire generations to come. I am confident that BRO will continue to play a pivotal role in the development and security of our nation, true to its motto -Everything is Achievable Through Hard Work.”

Lt Gen SK Shrivastava Ex DGBR credits BRO as a true saga of grit and determination.

The Border Roads Organization, since its inception, has been a stalwart in serving the nation by pushing boundaries and venturing where “Eagles Dare.” Initially, the organization faced limitations in terms of funding and financial powers, relying heavily on departmental labor and resources. During his tenure as Director General Border Roads, he witnessed the challenges posed by this piecemeal approach to road construction, necessitated by financial constraints.

One pivotal moment was the significant enhancement of financial powers by the Ministry of Defence, thanks to constructive discussions and the open-mindedness of then-Defence Secretary Mr. Sanjay Mitra. This boost in financial capabilities allowed for the planning and execution of long stretches of roads, marking a substantial improvement in our operational capacity.

Efforts to secure funding from various sources, including the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH) and the Central Road Fund, were met with varying degrees of success. While the fruition of these funding avenues occurred after his tenure, the groundwork laid during his term paved the way for future financial support.

“The successful completion of the Rohtang Tunnel, now named the “Atal Tunnel,” stands out as a major achievement. Overcoming technical and financial hurdles, we managed to bring this project to fruition through innovative construction methods and global collaboration. The inauguration of the tunnel by Defence Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman was a significant milestone, albeit underplayed due to electoral constraints.”

Noteworthy projects such as the Sela Tunnel, advancements on the DBO road, and the construction of the highest motorable road in the world at Unmingla showcase the dedication and resilience of BRO teams. The progress made on the Dharchula-Gunji-Budhi axis towards Kailash-Mansarovar and the undertaking of runway construction for Indian Air Force runways in the East underscores BRO’s commitment to national infrastructure development.

Lt Gen SK Shrivastava Ex Director General Border Roads witnessed significant strides in enhancing the organization’s capabilities and executing critical infrastructure projects. The groundwork laid during this period, coupled with the dedication of our teams, ensures a promising future for the Border Roads Organization in its mission to serve the nation with unwavering commitment and excellence.

This article has been created with the generous inputs by Lt Gen Harpal Singh Ex DGBR (28th March 2018- 30th November 2020 Tenure as DGBR) & Lieutenant General Sanjeev Kumar Shrivastava, PVSM, AVSM (1st February 2017 – 27th March 2018 Tenure as DGBR)

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