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Why in news?

The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has constructed and opened a new permanent bridge on the river Ravi connecting Kasowal enclave in Punjab to the rest of the country much ahead of its schedule.

The enclave of around 35 square kilometres had hither to been connected via pontoon bridge of limited load capacity.

Why was this bridge necessary?

  • The pontoon bridge used to be dismantled every year prior to the Monsoon or else it would have got washed away in the strong currents of the river.
  • This meant thousands of acres of fertile land across the river could not be tilled by farmers during the Monsoon.
  • The local population and the Army (by virtue of the sensitivity of the enclave) required a Class 70 permanent bridge to give all weather connectivity to the enclave.
  • Border Roads Organisation conceived and planned for a permanent bridge.

Border Roads Organisation (BRO)

  • The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) develops and maintains road networks in India’s border areas and friendly neighboring countries.
  • BRO is under the control of the Ministry of Defence since 2015.
  • BRO is engaged in road construction to provide connectivity to difficult and inaccessible regions in the border areas of the country.
  • Officers from the Border Roads Engineering Service (BRES) and personnel from the General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) form the parent cadre of the Border Roads Organisation. It is also staffed by officers and troops drawn from the Indian Army’s Corps of Engineers on extra regimental employment (on Deputation).
  • BRO  has played a very important role in both maintenance of security and in the development of border areas. Most of the development in the North Eastern states of India can be attributed to the relentless work done by the BRO. Socio economic development in the most inaccessible nooks and corners of our country are a result of the infrastructural work undertaken by the BRO.
  • BRO works in close association with the Indian Army in cases of natural disasters.
  • BRO also undertakes work in neighboring countries such as Afghanistan, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. Hence, it helps greatly in maintenance of friendly and diplomatic relations.

Kasowal enclave in History: 1971 War – Battle of Dera Baba Nanak

  • Dera Baba Nanak (DBN) is a small town about 30 miles north of Amritsar and south of the Ravi. Near it are two strategically important enclaves, north and south of the Ravi, belonging to India and Pakistan respectively. The Indian enclave is called Kasowal and the Pakistani Jassar or DBN.
  • The Pakistani enclave includes the Ravi road-rail bridge, over which the Pakistani communications network in the Passur-Narowal area can be integrated easily with ours in Punjab.
  • Kasowal enclave provides a sizable bridgehead across the Ravi from where operations can be developed against the defences of Jassar and Narowal fortress. DBN enclave can be outflanked from Kasowal with ease.
  • Thus, both sides have readymade bridgeheads in each other’s territory which can be exploited both offensively and defensively, depending upon the requirements of overall strategic planning.
  • The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 was a military confrontation between India and Pakistan that occurred during the liberation war in East Pakistan.
December 2023