New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Bogibeel bridge in Assam on the birth anniversary of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The Bogibeel bridge will connect the south bank of the Brahmaputra river in Assam’s Dibrugarh to Silapathar in Dhemaji bordering Arunachal Pradesh. The 4.9 km-long bridge on the Brahmaputra river boasts of being Asia’s second longest rail-cum-road bridge.
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 bridge is seen as an attempt by India to shore up its defence requirements along the Sino-Indian border.
Here are ten interesting things to know about the Bogibeel bridge:
1. The Bogibeel bridge is constructed at an estimated cost of ₹ 5,900 crore. Due to inordinate delay in its implementation, the cost of the project escalated by 85 per cent from the sanctioned estimated cost of ₹ 3,230.02 crore.
2. The bridge, has a ‘serviceable period of around 120 years’, PTI quoted senior officials as saying.
3. The Bogibeel bridge is built by Hindustan Construction Company(HCC).
4. The bridge has a two-line railway track on the lower deck and a three-lane road on the top deck. For the first time for Indian Railways, the girder has A steel floor system for railway tracks and concrete for road.
5. 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.
6. The bridge will reduce travel time from Assam to Arunachal Pradesh to four hours. It will also reduce the Delhi to Dibrugarh train-travel time by about three hours to 34 hours as against 37 hours presently.
7. Sanctioned on 22 January 1997, the then Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda had laid the foundation stone for the bridge. However, construction began only after former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee inaugurated the work site on 21 April, 2002.
8. The bridge will reduce the distance to Northeast region by 165 km, saving fuel worth ₹ 10 lakh per day in the region.
9. The bridge is among the infrastructure projects planned by India to improve logistics along the border in Arunachal Pradesh.
10. While inaugurating the Bogibeel bridge in May 2017, PM Narendra Modi dedicated it to the musician and film-maker Bhupen Hazarika.
The bridge and the train will be a boon for the people of Dhemaji as major hospitals, medical colleges and airport are in Dibrugarh, the third-largest city in the Northeast.