TRIBUTE TO THE IRON WILL OF OUR COUNTRY BY BRO IN COVID TIMES
Daporijo being one of the oldest District headquarters in the Upper Subansiri District of Arunachal Pradesh is also considered to be the gateway to the Disputed Areas of Asaphila and Maza along the the Indo -China Border. The recent tensions between the two countries over the Doklam issue had serious ramifications on the Upper Subansiri region. Daporijo is connected to the rest of State through two main roads ie the Likabali-Basar-Bame-Daporijo axis and the other Itanagar-Ziro-Raga-Daporijo axis. Subansiri River(also known as ‘river of gold’) to which the District owes its name is the major river flowing through this region with two very vital bridges on these two lines of communication. Sustenance of more than 600 villages and 3000 Security Forces depend on bridge at Tamin (400 feet Bailey Suspension Bridge) and at Daporijo ( 430 feet Multi Span Bailey Bridge) as it facilitates uninterrupted supplies like food and ammunition to the soldiers deployed on the LAC besides catering to the needs of the local population.
Over the years these bridges the only lifelines of Upper Subansiri have immensely deteriorated owing to weathering and their load classifications have drastically reduced to just 9 tons thereby severely impacting the infrastructural development in Upper Subansiri District and the movement of supplies for 451 villages and approximately 3000 Security Forces deployed in the strategic Indo China borders. To add woes to the misery both the axial roads passing through the bridges have been under construction for last so many years. Majority of local population belong to the Tribe Tagin (Aggressive in Nature) who are basically still continuing the practice of hunting. It seems that apart from the problems at hand there are some inimical elements who do not want Upper Subansiri to develop and therefore these invisible instigators present in the area make sure that BRO doesn’t progress works. The main source of employment in the area is BRO as no industry has survived here. Incessant rains create further problems. On 26 Jul 1992 the Bailey bridge at Daporijo became weak and in an unfortunate incident a bus fell into the Subansiri with no survivours. Indian Army took up the challenge and 117 Engineer Regiment made this seemingly impossible 430 Multi span bailey bridge. All major supplies of the security forces and for the villagers of approximately 451 villages go via Daporijo bridge. During a routine inspection by Commander, 2IC 23 BRTF, Officer Commanding 77 RCC and staff it was noticed that the bridge at Daporijo had completely rusted and developed cracks. The bridge had been repaired twice earlier and was now in a dilapidated state waiting for a catastrophe to happen. After liaison with Local Administration, the bridge was declared unsafe for move of heavy vehicles. However, the traffic was not stopping as this was the only lifeline in the area. BRTF and Project Arunank took it as a moral responsibility to takeover the Bridge from PWD authorities for the safety of our forces and people of Upper Subansiri. BRO pitched this issue at the highest level including Military Operations branch and the Ministry. In record time under the leadership of Lt Gen Harpal Singh, AVSM,VSM, DGBR the bridge was accorded concurrence and priority for construction. On receipt of orders from DGBR, bridge resources were mobilised within a month and massive effort was put in to organise the stores on site. Coordination meeting were organised between the BRTF and PWD, DC Daporijo, SP, Daporijo, Local Administration departments including electrical department and prominent personalities of Daporijo. Issues discussed included support for construction of Bridge, stocking of essentials stores at Daporijo (rations, medicines and fuel) before getting cutoff, handling of locals, accommodation and safety of labours working for the BRO. A great amount of planning went in arranging transport, stores, liaisoning and move of bridge stores. The assessment of all new bridge parts and local transfers from nearby Projects (Project Brahmank and Udayak) was seamlessly organised by Project Arunank under the leadership of Chief Engineer Brigadier AS Chonker, VSM.
The innovative design of the new bridge is different from the standard drills and was deliberated at the BRTF headquarters and at Project headquarters. It comprised of combining the two steps ie delaunch and launch. Due to various challenges ( such as restricted back space for launch ie 30 feet and limited space on the abutments) the bridge had to cater for future demands of development in the area. It was decided to upgrade the bridge from class 24 to class 40. The design was meticulously made and discussed with professionals at College of Military Engineering at Pune. The methodology of construction was the most difficult part, as such a long bridge would require minimum of 130 feet back space and host of safety equipment. Considering all aspects we finally arrived at the construction methodology which was to launch and delaunch at the same time (Just like adding bays to train and removing the old bays at the other end). This would imply that the bridge was to be put on minimum 28 rollers and upto a length of 490 feet and pushed carefully over these rollers. An extremely complicated simultaneous launch and delaunch operation with only 30 feet backspace at both ends was executed for the first time. On 17 Mar 2020 23 BRTF began construction of Daporijo bridge over Subansiri River. Even through the nation wide lockdown BRTF braved all odds with utmost precautions against COVID 19 and went ahead with construction so as to connect this Strategic Line of Communication. Finally after 27 days on 14 Apr 2020 the bridge has been jacked down successfully and safely on the supports. It has been successfully upgraded fro class 24 tons to class 40 tons thereby allowing heavier vehicles to pass catering for not only Army requirements but the future Infrastructure development requirements of Upper Subansiri District. Safe and early execution of the bridge represents the seamless coordination and cooperation between the BRO, MoD and Arunachal Government. The bridge has been successfully completed and inaugurated by Chief Minister Mr Pema Khandu over video conferencing and open for traffic movement from 20 Apr 2020. The CM of Arunachal Pradesh has classified this bridge construction as an example of outstanding contribution by our countrymen, in challenging COVID 19 times, for the entire country and the word.“ BRO Constructs, Connects and Cares