The flash flood caused by a glacial burst last month in Chamoli district, Uttarakhand, killed over 70 people, trapped workers in tunnels, and swept away hydropower projects and a lone bridge that served as a vital link to many border villages. The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) along with other agencies quickly swung into rescue and relief operations. It was reported that the BRO was building a 200-ft Bailey bridge (a temporary bridge which can be erected faster by assembling prefabricated steel components) in Chamoli to restore connectivity. But what is BRO and what are its functions? Let’s find out.

Building strategic roads

Border roads are critical for a country’s security. The BRO is responsible for constructing and maintaining strategically important roads in India’s border areas and friendly neighbouring nations. It is also entrusted with developing infrastructure such as bridges, tunnels, airfields, and causeways in farflung, challenging border areas to provide connectivity. Currently headed by Director General Border Roads Lt. Gen. Rajeev Chaudhary, the BRO is made up of personnel from the Border Roads Engineering Service (BRES), the General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) and those drawn from the Army Corps of Engineers. It also engages local labour wherever needed.

Formed in 1960

The brainchild of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, the BRO was formed in 1960 with the objective of developing road network and infrastructure in the remote areas of north and northeast, situated close to the borders. Initially under the Ministry of Surface Transport, the BRO has been functioning under the Ministry of Defence since 2015.

In times of peace and war The BRO is committed towards meeting the strategic needs of the country’s armed forces in times of peace and war. During peace, the BRO contributes to the socio-economic development of the border regions and takes care of roads that serve the logistical needs of the Army. Besides, in the event of a calamity or natural disaster, the BRO undertakes rescue, rehabilitation and reconstruction work, like what it has done in the flood-ravaged Chamoli. It helps improve the lives of people by ensuring connectivity and accessibility – it has built Bailey bridges in case of landslides, cloudburst or flash floods. During war, it develops / maintains the roads in original and re-deployed sectors to facilitate smooth troop movement and performs any other task assigned by the Government.


  • The BRO functions in over 20 States of the country and also serves friendly neighbours such as Afghanistan, Bhutan and Nepal.
  • The BRO Raising Day is celebrated every year on May 7, marking the day of its formation in 1960.
  • One of the recent achievements of the BRO is the construction of the longest highway tunnel called the Atal Tunnel in Himachal Pradesh.

Picture Credit : Google

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