Border Roads Organisation
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2010)|
|Motto||Shramena Sarvam Sadhyam ("Everything is Achievable through Hard Work")|
|Formation||7 May 1960|
|Purpose||Civil engineering infrastructural development in difficult area|
|India, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Myanmar, Libya, Sri Lanka.|
|Lt General Suresh Sharma, AVSM |
|Ministry of Defence|
(As of 2011[update])
The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) develops and maintains road networks in India's border areas and friendly neighbouring countries. It is staffed by officers and troops drawn from the Indian Army's Corps of Engineers, Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Army Service Corps, Military Police and army personnel on extra regimental employment. Officers from the Border Roads Engineering Service and personnel from the General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) form the parent cadre of the Border Roads Organisation. Currently, the organisation maintains operations in twenty-one states, one UT (Andaman and Nicobar Islands), and neighbouring countries such as Afghanistan, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. The BRO operates and maintains over 32,885 kilometres of roads and about 12,200 meters of permanent bridges in the country. Presently, BRO is also involved in the construction of a tunnel at the Rohtang pass which is estimated to be ready by 2019. It is currently headed by Lt General Suresh Sharma who is the 24th Director General Border Roads (DGBR).
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. In order to ensure coordination and expeditious execution of projects, the Government of India set up the Border Roads Development Board (BRDB) with the Prime Minister as Chairman of the Board and Defence Minister as Deputy Chairman. Today, the board exercises the financial and other powers of a Department of Government of India and is chaired by the Raksha Rajya Mantri (RRM). Among others, Chief(s) of Army and Air Staff, Engineer-in-Chief, DGBR, FA(DS) are members of the BRDB. The Secretary of the Board exercises the powers of Joint Secretary to the Government of India. The executive head of the GREF is the DGBR who holds the rank of Lieutenant General. In a bid to boost border connectivity, the Border Roads Organisation has been entirely brought under the Ministry of Defence. Earlier it received funds from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
The BRO consists of Border Roads Wing in the Ministry of Defence and the General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF). GREF—the execution force—under the Ministry of Defence, officers from Indian Army Corps of Engineers, who are posted to GREF on ERE .The status of GREF is equivalent to that of JAKLI in the Indian Army. The GREF includes civil, electrical, mechanical engineers Administrative Officers Medical Officers and Hindi Officers. Engineers are selected from engineering colleges across India through the Indian Engineering Services examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission. Other Officers also includes administrative officers, medical officers who are also selected through UPSC and placed under Army act 1950 and Army rules 1954 with exceptions and modifications vide SRO 329 and 330 of 1960 and SRO 1001 of 1961 for equivalent ranks of GREF with regular army. Members of GREF are the members of Armed Forces within meaning of Article 33 of the Constitution of India as defined by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the case of R. Viswan V/S Union of India and the President declared GREF as integral part of armed forces. Members of GREF are entitled to ration at par with regular army and drawing from ASC units located nearest to GREF units. A question arose in respect of R. Viswan v/s Union of India 1983,"WHETHER Genral Reserve Engineering Force is an armed force—The question is whether Sec 21 of the Army Act, 1950, read with Chapter1V of the Army Rules,1954 is within scope and ambit of Article 33 of the Constitution and if it is, whether Central Government notification Nos S.R.O. 329 and 330 dated 23 September 1960 making inter alia Sec 21 of the Army Act, 1950 and Chapter 1v of the Army Rules, 1954 applicable to General Reserve Engineering Force are ultra-vires of that Article since the General Reserve Engineering Force is neither an armed Force nor a Force charged with the maintenance of public order. It is a question of some importance since it affects the fundamental rights of large number of persons belonging to the General Reserve Engineering Force and in order to arrive at a correct decision of this question, it is necessary first of all to consider the true nature and character of the General Reserve Engineering Force. It is indisputable on the facts and circumstances that the function and duties of GREF are integrally connected with the operation plans and requirement of the Armed Forces and the members of GREF are integral to the Armed Forces. There can be no doubt that without the efficient and disciplined operational role of GREF the military operations in border areas during peace as well as in times of war will be seriously hampered and a highly disciplined and efficient GREF is absolutely essential for supporting the operational plans and meeting the operational requirements of the Armed Forces. It must, therefore be held that the members of GREF answer the description of the members of Armed Forces within meaning of Art. 33 and consequently the application of Sec. 21 of the Army Act 1950, to the members of GREF must be held to be protected by that Article and the Fundamental Rights of the members of GREF must be held to be validly restricted by Sec. 21 of Army Act 1950 read with Rules 19 to 21 of Army Rules 1954. If that be so, the petitioners were liable to be charged under Sec. 63 of the Army Act 1950 for the alleged violation of Rules 19 to 21 of Army Rules 1954 and their convictions by the Court-martial as also subsequent dismissal must be held to be valid.
The organisation's operations are spread across India, Bhutan, Myanmar, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan.
The fundamental unit of the BRO is similar to a platoon. The functional platoon, composed of civil engineer officers from the GREF and civil engineers from the College of Military Engineering, Kirkee Pune, is in charge of activities such as formation cutting, surfacing, and safety mechanisms to maintain correct road geometry. BRO units also handle the construction of permanent and temporary bridges, causeways, and airfields.
The BRO includes 18 Projects, which are divided into Task Forces, Road Construction Companies (RCCs), Bridge Construction Companies (BCCs), Drain Maintenance Companies (DMCs), and other functional platoons. The organisation also includes base workshops, store divisions, training and recruitment centers, and other staff.
The BRO is also in charge of maintenance of its road networks. In many places landslides, avalanches and snow block the routes and have to cleared as quickly as possible. BRO also employs the more than two lakh (200,000) local workers in the task.
An Internal Financial Advisor supports the BRO, performing the roles of Chief Accounts Officer and Internal Auditor. This system was introduced on 23 March 1995 to introduce efficiency and improve resource utilisation. The IFA secured ISO 9001 certification in December 1999.
The BRO undertakes projects in India and friendly countries. These projects typically include developing roads, bridges, and airfields in hostile environments shunned by private enterprises, whether due to security concerns related to hostilities, or because of environmental challenges.
Some of these projects carry out some of the development initiatives of the Indian government in foreign territories like Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Myanmar, and Bhutan. These include the Delaram-Zaranj Highway in Afghanistan, completed and handed over to the Afghan government during 2008, and the restoration of the Farkhor and Ayni air bases in Tajikistan.
The organisation employs labourers locally. No local labourer is deployed in the GREF for more than 179 days at a stretch, thus keeping the nature of their employment casual.
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