India's longest road-rail bridge to be inaugurated by PM Modi this year
BOGIBEEL (ASSAM): In a major boost to defence logistics along the border with China, India's longest road and railway bridge connecting Dibrugarh in Assam to Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh is likely to be inaugurated later this year by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
While all the civil work would be completed by July this year, two more months would be needed to finish the electrical and signalling work on the 4.94 km bridge, said Mahender Singh, chief engineer, construction, Bogibeel project.
The Bogibeel bridge is likely to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi by the end of this year, officials said.
The bridge, which is the second longest in Asia, has three lane roads on top and double line rail below.
The bridge is 32 metres above the water level of the Brahamaputra and is fashioned on a bridge that links Sweden and Denmark.
For the government, the bridge, officials said is both a symbol of development in the northeast as well as part of a strategic move solving logistical issues for the armed forces stationed at the China border to get supplies from Tezpur.
Bogibeel is part of infrastructure projects planned by India to improve logistics along the border in Arunachal Pradesh. This includes the construction of a trans-Arunachal highway on the north bank of the Brahmaputra, and new road and rail links over the mighty river and its major tributaries such as the Dibang, Lohit, Subansiri and Kameng.
India and China share a nearly 4,000 km border.
As of now, the rail and road link to Arunachal is through three Assam bridges -- Jogighopa in Bongaigaon district, Saraighat near Guwahati, and Kolia-Bhomora between Sonitpur and Nagaon.
This means that a cargo from Dibrugarh in the north-eastern corner of Assam takes over a 600 km detour merely to cross the Brahmaputra.
The other alternative is crossing by ferry, but it is not suitable for heavy cargo and due to monsoons for six months between May-October, ferry services often remain disrupted.
"Now, to go from Dibrugarh to Arunachal Pradesh by train, one has to go via Guwahati with more than 500 km detour. With this bridge, the journey will be less than 100 km," said Singh.
Though approved in 1996, construction of the bridge was initiated by the first BJP-led NDA government in 2002.
The Congress-led UPA government had declared it a national project in 2007.