In what could be a Christmas gift to the nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday inaugurated India’s longest rail-road in Assam.
PM Modi inaugurated the 4.94-km-long strategically important project over the mighty Brahmaputra at Bogibeel.
The Bogibeel Bridge, which was a part of the Assam Accord and sanctioned in 1997-98, is likely to play a crucial role in defence movement along the India-China border in Arunachal Pradesh.
तैयार है देश का सबसे लंबा रेल-रोड पुल, ‘बोगीबील’: ब्रह्मपुत्र नदी पर बने, सामरिक दृष्टि से महत्वपूर्ण और पूर्वोत्तर को देश से जोड़ने वाले बोगीबील पुल का प्रधानमंत्री @NarendraModi करेंगे उद्घाटन pic.twitter.com/osyq4nH4rb
— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) December 24, 2018
The foundation stone of the project was laid by former Prime Minister H D Deve Gouda on January 22, 1997, while work commenced on April 21, 2002, under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government. Interestingly, December 25 happens to be Vajpayee’s birth anniversary.
According to reports, due to the inordinate delay in implementation, the cost of the project escalated by 85% 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.
See why #BogibeelBridge is so special for Northeastern people? pic.twitter.com/qcxjgqqCIH
— BJP (@BJP4India) December 24, 2018
Realising its strategic importance, the central government had declared the construction of the bridge as a National Project in 2007, thereby assuring the availability of fund for speedy construction. Although it will ease out inconvenience caused to people living on the northern side of Brahmaputra to a great extent, officials said the defence requirement played an important role while sanctioning the structure and its design.
“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. “First, the Dhola-Sadiya bridge and now Bogibeel — these two are going to enhance India’s defence prowess,” a senior Army official said.
Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) Chief Public Relations Officer Pranav Jyoti Sharma said almost 75 per cent of the 4,000-km long border that India shares with China is in Arunachal Pradesh, and the bridge will help in logistical support for the Indian Army manning the border.
The Bogibeel Bridge over river Brahmaputra is situated 17 km downstream of Dibrugarh city in Assam, and it has been constructed for double-line broad gauge track along with three-lane roads, he said.