PM inaugurates India’s longest rail-cum-road bridge in Assam

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 26 Dec 2018 09:13:35



PRIME Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday inaugurated the country’s longest rail-cum-road bridge over the Brahmaputra  river at Bogibeel near Dibrugarh in Assam. The Prime Minister, who reached Dibrugarh in the afternoon from New Delhi, flew directly to Bogibeel in a chopper and dedicated the 4.94-km-long double-decker bridge to the nation from the south bank of the river.

After greeting people, standing on the foothold of his vehicle, Modi deboarded the car and walked a few metres on the bridge along with Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi and Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. The Prime Minister crossed the bridge in his cavalcade to the north bank of Brahmaputra, where he will flag off the Tinsukia-Naharlagun Intercity Express.

The train will run five days a week. The 4.9-km bridge will cut down the train-travel time between Tinsukia in Assam to Naharlagun town of Arunachal Pradesh by more than 10 hours. The strategically important bridge, which begins at Dibrugarh and ends at Dhemaji districts of Assam, will remove communication bottlenecks to several districts of Arunachal Pradesh. The Bogibeel Bridge, which was a part of the Assam Accord and sanctioned in 1997-98, is also likely to play a crucial role in defence movement along the India-China border in Arunachal Pradesh.

The foundation stone of the project was laid by former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda on January 22, 1997, while work commenced on April 21, 2002, under the Atal Behari Vajpayee-led Government. The Congress-led UPA Government had declared it a national project in 2007. December 25 happens to be Vajpayee’s birth anniversary.
Due to inordinate delay in its implementation, the cost of the project escalated by 85 per cent to Rs 5,960 crore from the sanctioned estimated cost of Rs 3,230.02 crore.

The total length of the bridge was also revised to 4.94 km from the earlier 4.31 km. The bridge is part of the infrastructure projects planned by India to improve logistics along the border in Arunachal Pradesh. “The bridge will enhance the national security of the eastern region by facilitating swift movement of defence forces and their equipment. It was constructed in such a way that even a fighter jet can land on it in case of emergency,” a source said.

A senior Army official had earlier said the biggest advantage of the bridge will be easy movement of troops
from southern to northern bank. “This means travelling to the farthest most point of India’s border with China will be shortened by several hundred kilometres,” he had said.