A tribute to Border Roads Organisation (BRO)
Ladakh is slowly recovering from the devastation which it suffered from the recent natural catastrophe. It is a painful period of rebuilding for the people of Ladakh. The toughest task would probably be for the BRO to rebuild roads.
One needs to visit the Himalayan region to really appreciate the work done by BRO. Ladakh is a cold desert up in the Himalayas posing a terrible challenge to engineers working on developing road networks. The terrain is unfriendly and has extreme weather conditions. These areas would be fully snow covered for almost nine months a year. However, they are of high strategic importance – being the supply route to many defence positions like Siachen.
BRO was constituted to build, manage and operate roads in the rough and tough border areas. They work in deserts, snow- capped mountains and what not ! They have built some of the highest motorable roads in the world. Major mountain passes like Khardung-la, Taglang-la, Chang-la and Lachulung-la are all in the 15000 to 18000 feet range. Usually the work of builders ends with the commissioning of roads. BRO is an exception since they handle high maintenance routes. Clearing snow and making roads motorable is a task by itself.
While ascending to Khardung-la, one could see the rusted remains of several vehicles on the slopes – a reminder of the risks involved in travelling through the region. Construction work has taken several lives, many would have succumbed to the harsh weather. The memorial at Khardung-la mentions about the loss of 18 men of 201 Engineering regiment during construction.
It is thanks to the wonderful work done by BRO that we are able to travel to Ladakh and enjoy the serene beauty of the Himalayas.
On the lighter side, all through the roads you would find funny road signs alerting the drivers of the need to be careful. Here are a few which I can recollect offhand :
- Love thy neighbour, but now while driving
- Feel my curves, but don’t test them
- I am curvaceous
- After whisky, driving risky
- If you are married, divorce speed
- Keep your nerve on the curve
- Drive like hell and you will be there
- Peep, Peep but don’t sleep