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Old 11th June 2021, 11:56   #1
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Default The elite force of Border Roads Organization (BRO)

Numerous travelogues have been written on online forums and websites about beautiful places like Ladakh, Spiti, Arunachal and other border areas. However visiting these places would have not been possible without the numerous roads built by none other than BRO. This elite force is now regarded as a symbol of nation-building, and has become an inseparable component in maintaining the security and integrity of the nation.
This thread is about the BRO.

The elite force of Border Roads Organization (BRO)-bro.jpg

Quote:
Let us not forget that roads in this difficult terrain have been built not only with mere cement and concrete, but also with the blood of men of the Border Roads Organisation of India. Many lost their lives for the cause of duty on the project. To these men, who always play with danger and laugh at death, duty comes first. These fallen heroes came from all parts of Mother India, to contribute their mite to the defence of their mother land and prosperity of their neighbours.
Source: http://www.bro.gov.in/index2.asp?lan...95&projectid=9

Who is BRO?
BRO is an organization formed on 07th May 1960 which is responsible for developing and maintaining road networks in India's border areas.

The BRO consists of Border Roads Wing under the Ministry of Defense and the General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF).
The Border Roads Engineering Service (BRES) officers are governed by Central Civil Services (CCS/ CCA) Rules, 1965. They also subjected to all provisions of the Army Act, 1950 and Army Rules, 1954 except a few exceptions.

The BRO operates in 18 projects namely: Arunank, Beacon, Brahmank, Chetak, Deepak, Dantak (Bhutan), Himank, Hirak, Pushpak, Sampark, Setuk (currently non-functional), Sewak, Shivalik, Swastik, Udayak, Vartak and Vijayak. (Himank is the one in Ladakh).

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Source: BRO page on facebook.

A BRO official (engineering cadre) holds the designation of assistant executive engineer. He can rise up to the level of additional director general, the second highest post in the organisation. The Director-General Border Roads (DGBR) is the executive head of the BRO and is always a senior Army officer.

Role of the BRO:-

In Peace:
1. Develop & Maintain the Operational Road Infrastructure of General Staff in the Border Areas.
2. Contribute to the Socio-Economic Development of the Border States.

In War:
1. To Develop & Maintain Roads to Keep Line of Control through in Original Sectors and Re-Deployed Sectors.
2. To Execute Addl Tasks as laid down by the Govt Contributing to the War Effort.

Quote:
The highest fatality rate in the Indian Army is not in its infantry battalions, or in fighting. It is in a force which is least spoken about and bears the maximum brunt for giving connectivity to sensitive border areas – the Border Roads Organization (BRO).
BRO and neighbouring countries:
BRO is also instrumental in building roads in neighboring countries such as Afghanistan, Bhutan, Myanmar, Tajikistan and Sri Lanka.
Some projects:
--- The Delaram-Zaranj Highway in Afghanistan in 2008.
--- The Farkhor and Ayni air bases of Tajikistan restored and repaired.
--- In Bhutan - include the construction of Paro Airport, Yonphula Airfield, Thimphu – Trashigang Highway, Telecommunication and Hydro Power Infrastructure, Sherubtse College, Kanglung and India House Estate.

BRO movie link on BRO website : http://www.bro.gov.in/movie.asp

Project Himank: One of the many projects of BRO, this project, aptly known as Mountain Tamers, is located at the highest inhabited place in the world - Ladakh, and was started in August 1985. It is responsible to maintain line of communication through highest motorable road to highest battlefield in the world and from highest airfield to the highest lake.

Ladakh, which is strategically located, has China on the north and the south-east and POK on north-west. On the northern side, it has the mighty Karakoram Range, while on the southern side it has the Himalayas. Ladakh has witnessed all the wars that India has fought after Independance — 1947-48, 1962, 1965, 1971 and 1999 (Operation Vijay). Even the skirmish of Galwan valley in 2020 was in Ladakh.
Despite Ladakh’s significance from the angle of national security, successive Indian governments did not pay due attention to the development of Ladakh after Independence. Till the 1960s, people of Ladakh and defence personnel were using mules as the only mode of transportation. Finally, in 1985, the BRO carved out Project Himank for paying special attention to Ladakh alone. Thanks to the BRO, Ladakh has witnessed a lot of development. After the 1980's, the Indian Army was stationed at Siachen glacier, the world's highest battleground and the lines of communication had to be kept open throughtout the year, which is done till date. During Operation Vijay, the BRO staff had worked day and night to ensure that the Leh-Manali axis remained open. This was extremely important because of the interdiction of the Zoji-La axis by the enemy.

Project Himank remains cut off by land communication for almost six months from rest of the world and working season is barely six months for executing most of the original works. Inspite of these restriction imposed by nature, project Himank continued with enormous targets and achieved them.

The elite force of Border Roads Organization (BRO)-2244.jpg
Source: BRO website.

The daredevils slog day and night in subzero temperatures and in conditions almost beyond human endurance to keep Changla and Khardungla open throughout the year and keep the hostile border in constant touch and vigil. Opening of Zojila, Rohtang, Baralachala and Tanglangla much ahead of schedule are testimony to the tireless and dauntless efforts of the BRO. It is only due to efforts of the BRO that Ladakh, higher reaches of Himachal, the Kashmir Valley and the dizzy heights of the North East are connected to the rest of the country.

Most of its manual labourers are from Bihar and Jharkhand state, not Ladakh.

Some important roads/projects under Himank:
1) Atal / Rohtang tunnel (Completed in 2020).
2) Col. Chewang Ringchen bridge - longest bailey bridge in India (completed in 2019).
3) Darcha bridge - 2nd longest bailey bridge in India (completed in 2020).
4) 86 kms. Chisumle to Demchok via Umling la at 19300 feet (completed in 2016 and took 6 years to complete).
5) Road over Saser la - under construction.
6) 255 kms. Durbok - Shyok - DBO road (one of the reasons for Galwan conflict).
7) Darcha - Padum - Nimmu road (3rd all weather axis).
8) Keeping passes like Khardungla and Changla open throughout the year.

The list is endless and mere construction is not the end game. Maintaining each road throughout the year is also equally difficult.



Some photos of BRO from their facebook page.


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India-China Border Roads (ICBR) project is a Government of India project which aims to develop the infrastructure along the Sino-Indian border by constructing "strategic roads".[1] China in comparison, has significantly upgraded infrastructure in the Tibetan Autonomous Region with five airbases, an extensive rail network and more than 58,000 km of roads.[2]


As of May 2021, India is constructing at least 177 roads in two phases of over 10,023 km length along LAC under the “Border Infrastructure and Management Fund" (BIMF) of Ministry of Home Affairs, including 73 roads of 3,323 km length under ICBR-I (Phase-I) approved in 2005 and additional 104 roads of more than 6,700 km length under ICBR-II (Phase-II) approved in 2020. India has set up an inter-departmental "Empowered Committee" (EC) headed by the Ministry of Defence to expedite the issue resolution and timely completion of ICBR infrastructure after the delay in forest/wildlife clearance and land acquisition, rugged terrain, limited working season due to winter and rains, scarcity of construction material, etc resulted in the missed deadlines in the past.

Last edited by Aditya : 15th June 2021 at 16:29. Reason: As requested
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Old 14th June 2021, 15:10   #2
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Default re: The elite force of Border Roads Organization (BRO)

Some specialized vehicles of the BRO.



1) BEML Bulldozer BD80.

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2) BEML Moror Grader 605 R.

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3) Tata Hitachi Hydraulic Excavator EX-200.

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4) JCB Excavator JS-200/220LC.

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5) L&T CASE Excavator cum Backhoe Loader 851.

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6) Telcon JD 315 SE.

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7) Escorts Crane F-15.

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8) Bitumen Pressure Distributor.

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9) Atlas Copco ROC T15 - Smallest hydraulic surface drill rig.

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10) Snow cutter Schmidt.

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11) Snow cutter BUCHER ROLBA -1500.

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This is not a full list, but some of the specialized vehicles used by BRO.

Last edited by ruzbehxyz : 14th June 2021 at 15:12.
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Old 15th June 2021, 05:22   #3
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Default re: The elite force of Border Roads Organization (BRO)

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 15th June 2021, 09:56   #4
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Default Re: The elite force of Border Roads Organization (BRO)

Fantastic thread about an organisation that has been the mainstay of the border areas for long. There was a time in Arunachal Pradesh when people relied more on the BRO guys then the PWD guys for even a normal road repair and they still do. Every now and then, any road or bridge collapses, people clamour for the BRO in the state. The recent collapse of the section of the new highway right in the middle of Itanagar has already started the clamour for BRO !!

Sharing one story from earlier days in Arunachal Pradesh and specifically the capital complex region of Itanagar. On NH 52(A), there were two rivers flowing from the hills between the border check post of Banderdewa and Nirjuli. Every year during the monsoons, the rivers overflowed and the wooden bridge would be rendered useless since they were very weak.

State PWD had the responsibility to build a concrete bridge over the rivers which they managed to make but the bridges collapsed not once but twice. Every year during the monsoons, the buses and trucks were forced to take the road through the river and it did get scary at times when the water overflowed. A section near Karshingsha always had landslides and the capital complex would remain cut off from the country during the monsoons. Years went on like this until BRO came and mended those two bridges and the landslide prone areas. The trust these guys from BRO command from the local populace is unparalleled ever since. Of course, BRO now builds all the major roads in the border areas of the state including the widening of the strategic Tawang-Bhalukpong( talking of Arunachal Pradesh only) sector including building tunnels as well.

Folks in Arunachal Pradesh know the BRO people more as GREF since personnel from that unit used to consist more. GREF here stands for General Reserve Engineer Force. The border areas owe a lot to BRO and their contribution in nation building is one of the success stories of our country apart from many more. Thanks for sharing,

Regards.

Last edited by ABHI_1512 : 15th June 2021 at 10:19.
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Old 15th June 2021, 10:15   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ABHI_1512 View Post
There was a time in Arunachal Pradesh when people relied more on the BRO guys then the PWD guys for even a normal road repair and they still do.
Can totally understand that sentiment! Forget Arunachal, in Bangalore I often wonder how if the BRO can keep roads in mountain passes in such good shape, in the face of ice, extreme cold, extreme temperature fluctuations, difficult terrain, and how fast they clear landslides, then why on earth does the BBMP struggle so much to have pot hole free roads in Bangalore's mild weather conditions and all round easy working conditions and why they take so long to just resurface a road?!

(Of course the answer is inefficiency and Corruption (with a capital 'C')! But still, most city corporations should be ashamed of themselves.)
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Old 15th June 2021, 14:57   #6
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Default Re: The elite force of Border Roads Organization (BRO)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ABHI_1512 View Post
Fantastic thread about an organisation that has been the mainstay of the border areas for long.

Sharing one story from earlier days in Arunachal Pradesh and specifically the capital complex region of Itanagar. On NH 52(A), there were two rivers flowing from the hills between the border check post of Banderdewa and Nirjuli. Every year during the monsoons, the rivers overflowed and the wooden bridge would be rendered useless since they were very weak.

BRO now builds all the major roads in the border areas of the state including the widening of the strategic Tawang-Bhalukpong( talking of Arunachal Pradesh only) sector including building tunnels as well.
India approximately shares 3,488 km border with China including 1,126 km in Arunachal Pradesh making the state a highly sensitive location, especially when the state is claimed by China as a part of Tibet.

Keeping the strategic importance of Arunachal Pradesh, four projects of BRO -- Vartak, Arunank, Brahmank and Udayak, are committed to construct and maintain the indispensable road infrastructure necessary for the people and to maintain troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Project Vartak is handling strategically important Se La Tunnel. The tunnel once complete will give an all-weather link to the militarily significant town of Tawang, which saw action in the 1962 war.

Earlier, the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in April 2020 completed 430 feet long crucial Daporijo bridge over the Subansiri river in Arunachal Pradesh’s Upper Subansiri district. The bridge is the sole link to 451 villages and approximately 3,000 security force personnel deployed along the India-China border with disputed areas of Asaphila and Maza under it.

Last edited by ruzbehxyz : 15th June 2021 at 15:17.
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Old 15th June 2021, 18:53   #7
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Default Re: The elite force of Border Roads Organization (BRO)

I remember being at Khardung La around Christmas 2013, and we were in an Innova with snow reaching about half the way till of the window line on both sides of the road.

We were the first vehicle that day from Leh towards Nubra valley that day. The pass was snowed in since the last night.

Ahead of us was a BRO snow plow, clearing the road, and we followed about 4-5 car lengths behind.

I have immense respect for the BRO, ITBP and Indian armed forces stationed there.
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Old 15th June 2021, 19:56   #8
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Originally Posted by digitalnirvana View Post
I remember being at Khardung La around Christmas 2013, and we were in an Innova with snow reaching about half the way till of the window line on both sides of the road.

We were the first vehicle that day from Leh towards Nubra valley that day. The pass was snowed in since the last night.

Ahead of us was a BRO snow plow, clearing the road, and we followed about 4-5 car lengths behind.

I have immense respect for the BRO, ITBP and Indian armed forces stationed there.
Khardungla is very important for the Indian Army as it connects Leh with Kumar base, the base camp for Siachen Glacier. So as per planning, the pass is kept open throughout the year for strategic reasons.
It's really a tough pass to keep removing snow every now and then for 6 months in a year and that too above 17000 feet.
Hats off and salute to them.
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Old 16th June 2021, 03:28   #9
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Fantastic write up. I have witnessed project Beacon guys working in extreme terrains and wondered many times, to my disbelief, how on earth did that bull dozer reach that certain place it was parked in. Not surprisingly, there will a road built till that place in several months. They do incredible job providing armed forces tarmac to move on, in places with not only sub zero temperatures but places that see 22 feet of snow easily during winters. Such roads shut down automatically during snowfalls but one prompt by the army and these guys make sure to clear up the road for defense vehicles as much as possible. A feat unbelievable till one sees it himself. The drivers are so expert one would have a hard time seeing those insane drives while clearing up snow in one of the most treacherous and fatal curves on high mountains. High ranking officials sure are the beacons but it is the hardy local who actually makes the big plans successfully implemented. Their daily drives in decades old Tata trucks in the most difficult terrains often with no roads per se, will make the most experienced off roaders seem humble. Hats off to their spirit and hard work.
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Old 16th June 2021, 10:50   #10
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March 2021 update


Quote:
Besides the ongoing project to construct 3,323-km roads along the boundary with China, the Ministry of Defence is working on additional 104 roads (around 6,700 km) along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.

The ongoing projects, called the India-China Border Roads (ICBRs), have been classified as “strategically important”. Connectivity has been achieved on 59 roads having a total length of 3,205.16 km. On the remaining two roads, having a total length of 118.41 km, the unconnected portion is around 29 km.

The Lok Sabha was informed in a written reply on Wednesday that besides the ICBRs, another 104 roads were proposed to be built along the India-China border by the Border Roads Organisation.

Steps have been taken to expedite these projects. The Ministry of Defence has set up an “empowered committee” to resolve the issues pertaining to delays faced by the BRO.

The states of Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are part of the committee.

Difficult terrain, limited working season, difficulty in obtaining construction material, delay in forest/wildlife clearance and land acquisition are the main issues that lead to delay in the construction of roads here. The empowered committee will work to sort out these issues
Souce: The Tribune.
Link: https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/na...ong-lac-226715
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Old 18th June 2021, 10:00   #11
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Quote:
Difficult terrain, limited working season, difficulty in obtaining construction material, delay in forest/wildlife clearance and land acquisition are the main issues that lead to delay in the construction of roads here.
Despite all these, BRO does an excellent job.
From my wanderings in the NE (To escape in-laws, I became an outlaw and fled to the waiting arms of the 7 sisters…and their cousin) a few years ago.

The elite force of Border Roads Organization (BRO)-vehicle-queue.jpg

The elite force of Border Roads Organization (BRO)-epic-vistas.jpg

The elite force of Border Roads Organization (BRO)-bro-manipur-roads.jpg
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Old 18th June 2021, 10:03   #12
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Originally Posted by am1m View Post
(Of course the answer is inefficiency and Corruption (with a capital 'C')! But still, most city corporations should be ashamed of themselves.)
Without such corruption, the sales of Toyota Fortuners would plummet.
Sarcasm aside, the quality of civil engineering is also pathetic. Roads are badly graded, built without storm drains and proper footpaths. India has a long way to go in the urban infrastructure department.

Last edited by Mustang Sammy : 18th June 2021 at 10:07. Reason: Minor edit
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Old 18th June 2021, 10:09   #13
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Default Re: The elite force of Border Roads Organization (BRO)

Hats off to all the hard workers in the BRO. I only wish they would make roads in our cities as well. Few years back in during my Spiti trip, one of the best roads I encountered were made by BRO. It was racetrack level tarmac in the least of the unexpected places.
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