To celebrate its 50 long years of presence and service to the people in Mizoram, the pioneering road builder, Project Pushpak under Boder Road Organisation (BRO) has organised Golden Jubilee Celebration cum Cultural Extravaganza at Assam Riffles' Ground in Aizawl, last evening.
The event, filled with cultural items showcasing and special performances by some renowned talents was graced by the Pu Lal Thanhawla, the Honorable Chief Minister of Mizoram as a chief guest.
On this memorable occasion Pu Lal Thanhawla, paid rich tributes to the invaluable contributions of Project Pushpak for creating connectivity throughout the entire state. He told the gatherings that he was among the few remaining people to witness the growing of Project Pushpak since its inception. "The achievement of Pushpak, I have seen, is through sheer determination, hardwork, dedication and by tackling not only treacherous terrains but also managing works, which were often under trying circumstances, especially during the political turmoil of the late 60's till the end of insurgency period in the mid 80's", He said. He also lauded the humanitarian touch of Project Pushpak for creating jobs and served as the sources of income to the needy during insurgency. Expressing the Mizo people's sentiments and fondness of the BRO he said, " Project Pushpak and its workers were fondly called by the localites as 'Painar(Pioneer)' and they will always be endearing to us. Their great contributions and sacrifices will always remain an integral part of development in the state".
As late as in 1962, there were no proper road communications in the state of Mizoram. Even AIZAWL was not connected with proper road. Pressures of 2nd world war resulted in construction of a jeepable track from Silchar to Aizawl. From Aizawl to Lunglei in Southern Mizoram, even jeepable track did not exist. BRO was inducted into Mizoram in the year 1963. The first Task Force, inducted to Mizoram was 17 BRTF from Project Sewak located in Nagaland. The first task of the BRO was to improve and maintain Silchar - Aizawl road and to carry out recce survey of Aizawl - Lunglei Route which wás completed within a year under extremely inhospitable and hostile living conditions.
Two more TFs viz, 8 BRTF and 18 BRTF were inducted in Mizoram in 1965 to expedite construction of Aizawl-Lunglei road by the year 1967. However, the sudden out-break of insurgency in Mizoram in 1966 posed major setbacks to the planned completion of this road. Border Roads Organization accepted this challenge and PROJECT PUSHPAK headed by the first Chief Engineer Col SS Chhachhi, SM was established at Aizawl on 01 May 1967 and three TFs working in Mizoram were placed under command this project. In less than a decade of the arrival in this area, the BRO men established an unchallengeable reputation by their hardwork, exemplary devotion to duty and resilience to adjust to all adversities. Apart from Mizoram, Project Pushpak was entrusted with road construction in Assam, Tripura and Meghalaya. Due to the out- break of INDO- PAK war in 1971, Project Pushpak was asked to take over NH 44 from Jowai to Agartala, which was abandoned by PWD.
Project Pushpak has constructed over 3600 Km all weather roads and 2200 meters of bridges since inception to connect all towns with the state capital in Aizawl, all districts and sub-divisional headquarters right upto the borders with Myanmar and Bangladesh. During eighties & nineties, Project Pushpak was the largest and most prestigious project of the BRO, having five BRTFs namely 23BRTF, 24 BRTF, 36BRTF, 36 BRTF 42 BRTF and 755 BRTF and having its jurisdiction in Meghalaya, Tripura and Assam in addition to its home state Mizoram. Over the years, 21 Chief Engineers have led the Project through difficult times braving numerous challenges. The Project has the unique distinction of having been awarded four Kirti Chakras, one Padmashri and 23 Shaurya Chakras amongst many other awards.
Presently Project Pushpak under Chief Engineer Brig Birender Singh has three TF's under its command namely, 24 BRTF located at Seling in Mizoram, , 765 BRTF(UPP) located at Uchasthal on Barak- Jiribam Road in Manipur and 46(I) Task Force located at Port Blair in Andamans and Nicobar Islands. The Project has the responsibility of development and maintwnance of 957 Kms of road and 523 Km of upgradation of roads. With its untiring efforts and dedication, Project Pushpak has completed more than 3371 Km (CI-9) of Fmn, 3314 Km (CI-9) of Surf, 406 Cr of Pmt Wks and 2200 Mtrs of Bridges.