From the year 1773 to 1858 in the three existing Presidencies in ‘British India' there were separate Military Councils for the construction of government works. For the first time on an experimental basis in 1849, a Public Works Department (PWD) away from the idea of Military Council was set up in newly created Punjab province.

In 1850, a commission under the ‘Court of Directors’ recommended that under 'local government' the execution of civil and military public affairs works should be executed under 'Local Government' within their boundaries. With the above recommendations, Bengal and after wards Bombay and Madras Presidencies starts using the above system with appropriate improvements.

In Uttar Pradesh (then North West Province) Public Works Department was established around 1854 the same time as in Punjab. At that time the following tasks were performed under, Public works department (PWD) of India:

  1. Building and Road works
  2. Irrigation works
  3. Railway works
  4. Military works

In 1854, Government of India appointed a secretary to look after above public works. Colonel W .E. Martin, was Chief Engineer of North West Province in the year 1863-64 and 1865-66 under whom, there were 3 circles and 20 divisions. Colonel D.J. Hodgson, was chief engineer and secretary in the year 1864-65. Up to year 1870, Before the establishment of Thomson college Roorkee, the recruitment of engineers for the public works department was done from ‘Engineering Cores’ of the three Presidencies. Out of which, 40% recruitment was made from ‘Royal Engineers’, 30% from engineering colleges of India and 30% from 'Stanley Engineers' of England.

The department was restructured in the year 1870-71, and executive engineers are posted in each Commissionaires not only for construction work but also act as secretary to the commissioner. Similarly, in each district, every district magistrate had a District Engineer, who was called the sub-divisional officer of the Executive Engineer. Meanwhile In 1871, the name ‘Awadh’ was added to the name of this province. In 1882, under the Local Self Government Scheme, the works of lesser importance and the works of local councils were assigned directly to the District Boards. PWD was again restructured the control of District Magistrate (Collector) was abolished.

In 1894, the control of Thomson College, Roorkee was transferred to the Education Department from PWD. In 1901 the name of the present Uttar Pradesh was changed to ‘United Provinces’. In 1919 the Indian Government passed law to make the Public Works Department as the provincial Service. Since then the department has undergone following changes:

Year and Activities:

Year 1923

Office of Secretary PWD and Chief Engineer was transferred from Allahabad to Lucknow.

6 May, 1924

 ‘United Provinces Engineers' Association was formed by departmental engineers at Kanpur on May ‘06.

Year 1927

Public Health Department was established separately from PWD and its control was given to Civil Council.

Year 1931

Railway operations were taken out from the PWD.

Year 1933

Mr. Rai Bahadur Chhuttan Lal was appointed as the first Indian Chief Engineer.

Year 1938

Irrigation works were taken out from PWD and Irrigation Department established.

Year 1940-41

After the above mentioned restructuring, the PWD was left with only 01 Chief Engineer, 02 Superintending, Engineers and 07 Executive Engineers.

Year 1944

Due to World War II the pace of works under the Military Engineering (M.E.S.) increased and from 1944-45 there were 02 Chief Engineers, 05 Superintending Engineers and 22 Divisional Officers.

Year 1945

Thomson Engineering College Roorkee was again brought under the control of the department.

Year 1946

A research institute was also set up under the department.

Year 1947

After independence, the name of the province became Uttar Pradesh.

Year 1948

Thomson Engineering College Roorkee was made a university and brought under the control of education department.

Year 1963

Departmental Construction Unit (D.C.U.) was established on an experimental basis to carry out works directly under departmental engineers.

Year 1965

Housing Development Board was established to speed up the housing schemes of government.

Year 1970

Rural Engineering Service and Minor Irrigation Department were established to give acceleration rural development.

Year 1972

Uttar Pradesh State Bridge Corporation established for the speedy construction of bridges.

Year 1972

L.S.G.E.D. was renamed to Jal Nigam.

Year 1976

Based on the success of the Bridge Corporation, U.P. Rajkiya Nirman Nigam was established for building construction on departmental pattern, and it added to the glory of the state in the area of building construction.

Year 1976

The State Electricity Board was constituted for electricity production and distribution.
In Irrigation Department 'Tube well Corporation’ was formed.
In Jal Nigam Construction & Design Services was formed for consultancy.

Year 1980

Four Zonal offices namely Western, Central, Eastern and Hill region, Meerut was created for speedy and better supervision under chief engineers with head quarter at Meerut, Lucknow, Varanasi and Garhwal respectively.


Chief Engineer (Building) was posted for the building works under department in November.


Gorakhpur zone was created with headquarter at Gorakhpur from Eastern region Varanasi in the month of February.


Chief Engineer (National Highway) was posted for National Highway Works with P.W.D. under State In June.


Northwest zone with headquarter at Bareilly from Western zone and South-Central zone with headquarter at Kanpur  from Central zone was created in June.


Chief Engineer (E/M) was posted for procurement and maintenance of departmental machineries required for construction and supervision works in August.


Jhansi zone from South-Central zone, Agra zone from Northwest zone and Faizabad zone from Gorakhpur zone was created and Chief Engineers were posted in September.


The name Sarvajanik Nirman Vibhag was changed to Lok Nirman Vibhag in April.


A post of Chief Engineer (Level-1) was created at the headquarters Lucknow for monitoring works of the externally aided World Bank (road project) in December.


Legal Cell established in all Zonal Chief Engineers’ Office in October.


Chief Engineer (Complain) was posted in November.


The posts of Managing Director of UP Rajkiya Nirman Nigam and Bridge Corporation  were reserved for Chief Engineer of PWD (Level-2) in March.


Moradabad zone (from Northwest zone) and Allahabad zone (from South central Zone) were established in newly created revenue commissionaires in August.

Year 2000

As a result of the formation of Uttarakhand state, the Garhwal and Kumaon regions were transferred to Uttrakhand with proportionate posts and the hill cadre was abolished from department.  


For PMGSY works dedicated divisions were named as per the requirement of Government of India in January.


Engineer-in-Chief for Development  Rural Roads, Designs and Planning were posted for speedy and better monitoring the Engineer-in-Chief Development also nominated as H.O.D.


Two temporary posts of Chief Engineer (Level-2) in PWD created in August.


The post of Chief Engineers (Indo-Nepal border) has been created.