The Military Engineer Services (MES) is the premier construction agency and one of the pillars of Corps of Engineers of the Indian Army which provides rear line engineering support to the Armed Forces. It is one of largest construction and maintenance agencies in India with a total annual budget to the tune of approx Rs 13000 crores. It is responsible for creating the strategic and the operational infrastructure other than major roads, as also the administrative habitat for all three Services and the associated organisations of the Ministry of Defence. It has Pan India footprint to provide engineering support to various formations of Army, Air Force, Navy and DRDO. For this, the MES has over six hundred stations spread across the main land and the island territories of India. MES is a military organisation but has both Army and Civilian component of officers and other subordinate staff.
The organization was created over 200 years ago to execute both civil and military infrastructure. In the 18th century, the construction organisation was a part of the Army as the Public Works Department (PWD) manned by the Indian Corps of Engineers was created under the control of a Military Board. By 1851, the PWD came under the civil control but was responsible for both civil and military works. In 1881, The Military Works branch of PWD was segregated and transferred to the Military Department. The Military Works Services headed by a Director General came into being in 1889.
The "Army in India" Committee (1919-20) placed the Military Works under the Quarter Master General and the Sappers and Miners under the Chief of the General Staff. The two engineering wings were combined under the Engineer-in- Chief. The MES was formed in December 1923 with the Engineer-in- Chief as the Head. Initially, it comprised of personnel exclusively from Corps of Engineers, but later attained composite character by inducting civilians. Post- independence the post of DGW was created and the service was organized under the Chief Engineers Zones in 1964.
The MES Works Procedure has evolved out of the experience gained over a long time. In 1947 it was known as the "Army Works Procedure" and remained in force till 1968. In 1963 an Emergency Works Procedure was promulgated to meet the emergent requirements prevailing in the country at that time. In 1968, both these works procedures were superseded by the issue of the "Revised Works Procedure". The first Defence Works Procedure (DWP) was issued in Jun 86 and came to be known as DWP 1986. In 2004, MoD constituted a committee under Additional Secretary to revise the DWP 1986. The revised DWP 2007 was issued on 21 Jun 07 and continues till date.
The MES functions under the overall control of the Engineer-in- Chief, who is the advisor to the Ministry of Defence and the three Services on operational and peace time construction activities. The Military Engineering Services are responsible for the design, construction and maintenance of all infrastructure assets of the Army, Navy and Air Force. It is structured to design works which are executed through contracts under the supervision of officers and staff consisting of both civilians and combatants from the Corps of Engineers. It has an integral multi-disciplinary team of architects, civil, electrical and mechanical engineers, structural designers, quantity surveyors and contract specialists for planning, designing and supervision of works. The civilian cadres consists of four main cadre i.e. Engineering, Surveyor cadre, Architect and BSO (all being qualified engineers) and an Administrative cadre. All human resource issues such as recruitment, training, posting and promotion in respect of the officers and the subordinate staff are dealt through different HQs under the guidelines of Engineer-in- Chiefs Branch/ IHQ MoD.
MES is the only construction agency in the country which carries out all construction related tasks like construction of residential and office buildings, hospitals, roads and runways, marine structure like docks and harbours across the country including border areas. Besides conventional buildings, MES is largely involved in the construction of sophisticated and complex laboratories, factories and workshops, hospitals, airfields, runways and hangars, dockyards, wharves and other marine structures. It also deals with all the multifarious associated requirements such as air-conditioning, cold storage, electric and water supply, sewage treatment and so on. Most important of all, the facilities, assets and infrastructure created are maintained in a serviceable state and, in some cases, operated too, by the MES.
The MES also contributes significantly towards nation building and disaster mitigation. MES has been entrusted with a number of important projects, vital for the operational efficiency of the Defence Forces which includes important infrastructure projects of the three Services and also projects like the National War Memorial etc. As part of environmental initiatives, MES is undertaking several measures in the field of energy conversation, use of renewable energy and green technology. Solar energy power projects are being undertaken in various parts of the country. GRIHA norms are being mandated and use of LED lighting is being implemented in all projects to ensure energy efficient and environment friendly buildings in future. During two major natural disasters faced by the country i.e. Cyclone 'HUD HUD' and the floods in Jammu and Kashmir, which caused extensive damages in the stations, the MES stood up to the occasion and promptly restored the external services. MES teams also provided valuable technical assistance during Nepal Earthquake for early restoration of electric supply.