Ex-servicemen of BRO to organise meeting at Avadi, Chennai, 26 January

Chennai: In 1977, R Udayar from Chennai joined the government service. He holds pride in saying that he has served in the border areas across Burma and Pakistan. However, he was not a part of the defence, but has served on the vulnerable zones in India. So where was he? Unknown to many, Border Road Organisation (BRO), one of the organisations that work hand in glove with the armed forces was where he served for about 27 years.

From the southern part of India, he was placed in several susceptible areas in the country. He speaks to News Today about how he entered and how his job nature was.

“I was a civil engineer and was willing to join the government and work for the development of the nation, hence I got through the exams and joined the force in 1977,” Udyar recalls.

The veteran says that his primary role was to construct roads, buildings and airports. “Basically, we were deployed to aid the armed forces to develop infrastructure to enable communication facilities. My first place of work was in Sikkim. Communication was unimaginable as the areas did not even have electricity facility and proper shelter. Now, the state of communication has improved, although there are regions in Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh,” he adds.

He beams with joy when he speaks about his places of stationing and says that majority of the places are unmotorable even now. Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Mizoram, Tripura, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Bhutan are the places where he worked with the General Reserve Engineer Force division, an executive arm of BRO.

Udyar reminisces about his work and adds that he was also a part of the construction of the largest mountain pass, Khardung pass between 1978 and 1981. He narrates about the challenging times where he spent his nights by the kerosene lamps and tinned food due to the lack of effective connect to the places where he was posted.

Looking back, he does not have regrets, but also strives for the welfare of the veterans. For which, this Republic Day, the All India General Reserve Engineer Force Ex-Servicemen Welfare Association are having a meeting at Avadi to discuss several issues pertaining to the former employees and the deceased veterans’ families. “Firstly, we want to unite the veterans from South India. Secondly, we are demanding for the whole ex-servicemen facilities on par with the armed forces as there is disparity and persuade the case before the department,” he concludes.

Bhavani Prabhakar