• Mon. Jun 17th, 2024


ByNE India Broadcast

Oct 16, 2022

A considerable push has been given to border infrastructure in terms of connectivity during last decade, a heartening fact clearly evident to any regular visitor. The habitat for the Indian troops has however been an area of improvement. While the requirement of better habitat for troops who face not just the enemy but also the vagaries of extremely difficult weather in remote, secluded and cut-off posts away from family is very well understood by the Army and the government, it has started getting desired push in the last few years.

The troops thus far have been billeted in pre-fabricated shelters or living bunkers prepared by the Indian Army Engineers. Due to difficult terrain, technology limitations and also these not being taken up as consolidated projects with ergonomics in mind, the living conditions have been sub-par. There were major shortcomings with respect to living standards, protection against weather, space available to men, hygiene facilities and the ad-hoc power arrangements. This is now fast changing.

A first of its kind integrated project was first envisaged in Western Arunachal Pradesh in November 2021. The plan was to create a model post for troops on the front line as an integrated project keeping in mind the space, essential troop comfort, weather protection, amenities like running water, power requirements, safety and connectivity.

The selected location for Model Post was winter cut-off at high altitude. There were numerous challenges including the connectivity to the far-off location and therefore the problem of transportation of construction material, limited construction period due to continued bad weather and visibility conditions. These challenges required a fresh look on construction technology.

This Model post was conceptualized as a hi-tech, modern integrated project self-reliant with hybrid renewable energy sources.

The functioning of heavy machinery at sub-zero temperatures and operation of equipment required not just the grit and determination but also a lot of ingenuity.

Construction of double storey Living shelter without a heavy crane by utilizing manual means of blocks and tackles by pulley was going back to the basics but an absolute necessity.

Then there was the challenge posed by the continuous rainfall limiting the cement concrete construction at such high altitude. This challenge was obviated by utilizing admixtures like quick setting compound.The Indian Army has also started using several home-grown technologies suited for Indian conditions. One such tech is Ultra High-Performance Cement (UHPC). The UHPC plates of any size can be casted in-situ or precast. The use of UHPC reduces the overall construction time and enhances portability and provides enhanced protection.

A collaboration with IIT Guwahati is also moving well wherein 3-D printing technology is being explored to fast pace the construction of all kinds in the field conditions in much shorter time and with superior ergonomics.

Bamboo is also being used in an ingenious manner as BAMCRETE. Bamboo reinforced concrete frames are most suitable for creating infrastructure in operational areas.

It can also be effectively used for rapid infrastructure development, especially in North Eastern states due to low cost and easy availability in huge quantities and integral properties of higher strength & corrosion resistance.

This Model Post was the pilot project and there are plans to further evolve this design and concept and replicate it all along the frontline at many places across all regions.

There will be many tangible and intangible benefits of such infrastructure, the most important amongst which would be seen in even higher troop morale and self-esteem especially when the Chinese have been constructing modern military infrastructure at a rapid pace all along our Northern Borders.

Report- Pratyusha Mukherjee

Source : Indian Army

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