Till late fifties, road communications in the Northern & North Eastern borders of the country were virtually non-existent. In J&K, Leh was connected with Srinagar with an indifferent jeepable track. Sikkim had no motorable road beyond Gangtok. There was no semblance of road communication in Bhutan. In NEFA, only fair weather Jeep tracks existed upto Bomdila and Zero. Conditions in Nagaland and Mizo hills were equally unsatisfactory. Annexation of Tibet followed by massive Chinese build up left no option but to construct roads upto India’s traditional borders. Construction of Roads became synonymous with the determination to defend the country of its culture and its way of life. It is with this backdrop of grave national emergency and awe-inspiring odds that Border Roads Organisation was born and became operational almost overnight.

On 29 March 1960, while addressing the first meeting of Border Roads Development Board, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India announced a special status for BRDB to cut down procedural delays and also laid down top priority for strategic roads in Ladakh and NEPA regions. The new Organisation was, to start with Army Engineers forming a nucleus, construct roads with a time bound programme of two years and wind up thereafter. 1st June 1960 was fixed as target date for commencement of work. Before the Chinese operations started, arterial roads of length 1400 miles had been cut at altitudes varying between 5,000 to 18,000 feet and 132 Border Roads personnel had laid down their lives in the process. Border Roads Organisation (BRO) had had its baptism.

The BRO acquitted itself very well in support of Army both in 1962 and 65 operations and the need to make it permanent was duly recognised. It provided invaluable assistance to Army in 1971 operations also. To this day BRO has won 3 Param Vishishta Seva Medals, 10 Kirti Chakras, 2 Padma Shrees, 21 Ati Vishishta Seva Medals, 99 Shaurya Chakras, 28 Vishishta Seva Medals and 8 Sena Medals.

The, process of gradual expansion, diversification, and consolidation continued after 1971 operations. By Nov. 1983, the number of Projects under BRO had increased to 12 from the initial 2 in June 1960. Some of the finest constructions in the country in the remote border areas are credited to BRO including Tengavalley Complex for Army, 250 beds Army hospital in Ladakh and complex for Manipur Police and Assam Rifles. Indo Bhutan microwave link, prestigious India house complex and airfield at Paro in Bhutan have also been constructed by BRO. It has also made a mark on the international scene by exporting its technical expertise to West Asian Countries through IRCC Ltd.

BRO, today, has a permanent role in defence of the country and speedy economic development of inaccessible border area epitomising national integration. It stands out as a premier road construction agency of the country producing a network of 500 K.M. of well finished roads every year, besides maintenance of some 16,000 K.M. of surfaced and un-surfaced roads. 18,000 K.M. of roads to progress constructed in remote, climatically inhospitable, barren, rocky and snow bound areas are a saga of cold courage, sheer determination and tremendous dedication.

Date of Issue: 10.10.1985