The Border Roads Organisation (BRO), a wing of the Indian Army, has been making progress in clinching work orders abroad over the years.
In a recent development, Myanmar has sought the BRO help to construct 71 bridges.
Speaking to Deccan Herald, a senior officer from the BRO said: “We have already constructed a 160-km road link between Tamu-Kalemyo-Kalewa in Myanmar. They were very impressed with the quality of our work and have sought our help again.”
The BRO had completed the construction of the road in 2001 and maintained it till 2009 before handing it over to the Myanmar government. A delegation of senior officials from Myanmar was in New Delhi on September 11. The proposal for constructing the bridges was made at a meeting with senior Indian officials.
“We will soon send a team to Myanmar to conduct a feasibility study. And then a decision will be taken in consultation with the Ministry of Defence and the Centre,” the officer said.
However, the official also said the organisation is facing an acute shortage of officers and that repeated representations to the authorities concerned have not been fruitful. “We ask the UPSC for about 100 officers per year but get only about 14. On an average, about six of them quit in three months,” the officer pointed out refusing to comment on whether this problem will have an impact on foreign projects.
The organisation has a key role in constructing and maintaining roads along India’s border, including some strategic places, constructing air strips and bridges. It is also facing man-management problem.
“Unlike in other civilian organisations, our engineers are not posted in cities and other conducive places. Almost all their postings are tough and, thereby, it becomes a difficult task to manage our men. Add to this the additional burden they have to take in the absence of officers and the problem magnifies,” the officer said.
The silent striver
* The BRO was entrusted with the construction of the 215-km long Delaram-Zaranj road, the first tarmac road in Nimroz province, Afghanistan by Government of India. The team comprising approximately 700 personnel (300 BRO & 400 ITBP) successfully completed the work on July 17, 2008
* Rehabilitation of the runway along with other auxiliary works like construction of aprons, ATC buildings and other facilities in Tajikistan in a record time of 10 months at a cost of Rs 50 crore
* Construction and maintenance of roads apart from construction of an International Airport at Paro in Bhutan at an altitude of 2,300 m in 1968 and subsequent strengthening and extension of the same in 2007-08.