Brig DK Tyagi






Brief History of the Project


1.         Project Deepak was raised in May 1961 with Col S N Punjh as its Chief Engineer, primarily for the construction of Hindustan-Tibet (H-T) Road. The H-T Road is one of the most difficult roads ever to have been constructed in India. The 76 Km long Pooh-Kaurik sector of H-T Road passes through considerable lengths of sheer vertical hard rock stretches and huge bouldery strata embedded in sand and non-cohesive material, which is inherently unstable. The sector runs along River Satluj, crossing it at several locations. The road runs at altitudes between 1600 to 3600 meters. On the whole, the terrain and climatic conditions are very uncongenial. Many valuable lives were lost during the construction of this road. Thus, this work is a testimony to the sheer grit, determination and perseverance shown by Project Deepak right from its early days.


2.         Subsequent saga of history of the Project is enumerated as under:-


(a)       In 1965, construction of the 122 Km long Road Dhami-Basantpur-Kiongal and 107 Km long stretch of Road Keylong-Sarchu (part of the Manali-Leh road) was entrusted to Project Deepak.

(b)       In December 1966, following disbandment of Project Chetak, all roads of Uttaranchal were taken over by Project Deepak. Thus, the 300 Km long Road Rishikesh –Joshimath-Mana, 63 Km long road Road Joshimath-Malari and 260 Km long Road Tanakpur-Askote-Tawaghat came under the Project.

(c)        The early seventies saw Project Deepak spreading its light (Deepak Jyoti) in the states of Rajasthan and even Punjab. Project Deepak carried out construction, improvement and maintenance of roads as well as maintenance and improvement of Ditch-cum-Bundhs and field fortifications. With Project Chetak being re-raised in 1980, all works in Haryana and Rajasthan were handed over by Project Deepak to Project Chetak. In 2002, the works in Punjab were also handed over to Project Chetak.

 (d)      During Operation Vijay, the Project earned laurels from the Army for the exemplary manner in which the alternative axis to Leh, namely road Manali-Sarchu was cleared and kept open in spite of the unprecedented vehicular traffic seen during the period. The Project has been at the forefront, lending a helping hand to the local population in the moments of crises and calamity in the region. Be it the heavy snow fall in Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur Districts of Himachal Pradesh in March 1979 or floods in River Bhagirathi in 1978 necessitating the handing over of Roads Rishikesh-Uttarkashi-Harsil-Lanka-Baironghati (237 Kms) by UP PWD to the Project or the Baralachala snow tragedy in Oct 87, the Uttarkashi earth quake in Oct 91 or the Malpa tragedy in 1998, flashfloods in Kinnaur in Jun/July 2013. Project Deepak has seen it all and has made significant contributions in providing relief and disaster management.

(e)       With ever increasing work load, Project Shivalik was carved out of Project Deepak in 2009 to look after works in Uttarakhand. The work of Rohtang Tunnel was commenced by Project Deepak. Project Rohtang Tunnel was carved out of Project Deepak during Mar 2010 to supervise the construction of Rohtang Tunnel.


Units under command


3.         The Project presently has two TFs, each with two RCCs. While 759 BRTF is responsible for Hindustan-Tibet Rd, Kinnaur sect and rds in Spiti Valley, 38 BRTF is responsible for Manali-Sarchu Rd and rds in Lahaul and Pattan valleys.


Important overall achievements


3.         Project Deepak has constructed 2227.45 Kms of roads, 47 Nos of major bridges and 182 Kms of Ditch cum Bunds since inception. The important roads constructed include 122 Km Road Dhami-Basant Pur-Kiongal, 107 Km Road Keylong-Sarchu, 300 Km Road Rishikesh-Joshimath-Mana and 258 Km Road Tanakpur-Askot-Tawaghat. Project Deepak has constructed major bridges in snow bound and inhospitable terrain, the important ones are Dubling, Shongtong, Shalkar, Khab and Kharo bridge on Hindustan Tibet Road, curved bridge of NautiKhud on Dhami-Kiongal Road and Tandi, Chode, Kothi and Palchan bridges on Manali-Sarchu Road.


4.         Currently, jurisdiction of the Project is confined to the state of Himachal Pradesh. 94 RCC, 108 RCC & 759 TF were inducted into Project Deepak during 2011-12. Road Sumdo-Kaza-Gramphoo and Sansari-Killar-Thirot –Thandi were taken over by Project Deepak from State PWD in 2011 & 2012 respectively. At present, Project Deepak has a total of 1084.165 Kms of road under construction & maintenance in the state of Himachal Pradesh. Besides this, the Project has 36.98 Kms of road/mule tracks under its jurisdiction for maintenance only. The jurisdiction of the Project in Himachal Pradesh covers mainly three road sectors, ie. Road Manali-Sarchu, Hindustan-Tibet and Sumdo-Kaza-Gramphoo. In addition, two roads linking the State of Jammu & Kashmir namely Sansri-Killar-Thirot-Tandi and Darcha-Shinkunla are also under the jurisdiction of the Project.

TF wise achievements of the Project


5.         Project Deepak is contributing in nation building not only by way of providing access to places of strategic importance, but giving boost to socio-economic development of the area. The recent achievements of its Task Forces are as follows:-

(a)       759 BRTF.        Presently 759 BRTF is committed towards the widening of H-T road to National Highway specifications and developing the Indo-China-Border Roads/infrastructure. All of these are in the advanced stage of completion. This includes the construction of four major bridges namely Averipatti, Kasang, Akpa & Pangi. The Task Force efforts in speedy restoration of lines of communication in the cloudburst/flashflood damages in Kinnaur District of Himachal Pradesh in June/July 2013 have been appreciated by the State Government and the Army authorities.


 (b)       38 BRTF.        38 BRTF is currently committed towards the upgradation to National Highway specifications of the strategically important roads of  Manali – Sarchu (M-S), Sansari- Killar-Thirot-Tandi (S-K-T-T) and Darcha-Shinkula (D-S). All these roads traverse through one of the most intricate and challenging stretches of high altitude and snow bound area.  The working period is limited to about 100 days in a year. Due to heavy snow deposit, M-S road remains closed wef Nov to May every year. However, considering the growing importance of the road for strategic reasons, in 2012 and 2013, 38 BRTF has been successful in keeping the M-S road open till Dec end and opening the road by end Apr, one month in advance, reducing the closure gap from six to four months. Even, the internal roads of Lahaul-Spiti region were kept open throughout the winters for the first time in the history of the region, giving succor and relief to the locals in the region. This has been appreciated by the Govt of Himachal Pradesh by honoring 38 BRTF with ‘Civil Services Award’, the highest State award for exemplary services in 2013.





Honours and awards

6.         During the last 52 years, the Project has earned its share of laurels and continues to forge ahead with the motto “SADA AGE SABSE AGE” (Always Ahead - Ahead of All). The details of honours and awards are as under:

            (a)       Krithi Chakra                                               -    01

            (b)       Shaurya Chakra                              -   39

            (c)        Sena Medal                                      -   01

            (d)       Vishist Seva Medal                          -   04

            (e)       Uttam Jeevan Raksha Padak        -   01

            (f)        Jeevan Raksha Padak                    -   11

            (g)       COAS                                                 -   44

            (h)       VCOAS                                              -   29

            (j)         Govt Commendation Certificate   -   71

            (k)        DGBR Commendation Card         - 181