We can rightly boast of our men in olive green performing marvelous feats of bravery and distinction in various spheres. Ladakh is a vast plateau stretched out for hundreds of kilometers across the cold desert in the Himalayan foothills. Border Roads Organization (BRO) has been assigned the much daunting task of building the world’s highest motorable road over a height of 19,300 feet passing through Umlingla Top at an arms throw from the Chinese border.
With the Modi Government taking the reins of power, it was found that lot more had to be done on the Northern boundary to make it secure against misadventures of the enemy. That is why the Union Ministry of Roads and Surface Transport took great interest in laying out a network of roads along the border with China in Ladakh area and elsewhere in the eastern sector. We cannot be complacent and this is what we have learnt after the Chinese incursion of 1962.
It is so simple to say the road in question is the world’s highest motorable road but it is something else to talk of constructing it. The hair raising story of construction of this road has been related by Chief Engineer Project Hymans, Brigadier DM Purvimath. Going through the story word by word, one only wishes to salute this great motherland of ours which has produced sons and daughters who have dedicated themselves to the service of the nation in the face of greatest odds one can imagine. Imagine during the hottest season in the plains of the country the temperature at the highest peak of the road is -15 degrees and during winter it dips to -45 degrees. No worker can stay put at his work for more than ten minutes when he has to come down and take oxygen. The machines and workers have to reduce at 50 per cent reduced outputs because of extremely inclement weather. Transportation of construction material and repair and maintenance of the machines is a very difficult task. No worker can stay put at work for more than 16 days when he must take rest and inhale sufficient oxygen to keep him surviving. These are the sacrifices that our country is making to protect our borders from ill design of our enemies. It is a national imperative.