PM inaugurates country's longest bridge in Assam

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday inaugurated Bogibeel bridge over the Brahmaputra in Assam, 21 years after foundation stone of the country's longest rail-cum-road bridge was laid.

The 4.94-km long strategically important bridge will connect the north and south bank of the Brahmaputra in Dhemaji and Dibrugarh districts in Assam and will thereby reduce road distance between Dibrugarh and Itanagar in neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh by 150 km.

The broad gauge train line will reduce rail travel distance by 705 km, said officials of Northeast Frontier Railways (NFR), here.

The bridge, one of the technically challenging projects of the Indian Railways, is set to boost security infrastructure along Sino-Indian borders in Arunachal Prades by facilitating the swift movement of troops and equipment.

"This will not only be important for defence purposes but will serve as a lifeline for people in parts of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Earlier people in Dhemaji and Lakhimpur districts in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh had to either use boat to cross the Brahmaputra or take a day-long travel by bus or train. This bridge will reduce the distance significantly and make their travel comfortable," Modi said, at a function in Dhemaji. The Prime Minister's motorcade crossed the bridge before Modi cut the ribbon at Dibrugarh on Tuesday afternoon.

Bogibeel bridge was one of the promises in the Assam Accord signed in 1985 during former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's tenure. The accord was a culmination of six-year-long Assam Agitation or anti-foreigners movement.

Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda had laid its foundation in 1997, Atal Behari Vajpayee inaugurated its work and Manmohan Singh declared it a 'national project' in 2007. It missed at least six deadlines and the project cost had to be revised from Rs. 3,230.02 crore to Rs. 4,857 crore.

The bridge has 42 wells, each 2.2-metre thick and the girder has a steel-floor system for railway tracks and concrete for the road.

"It will enhance the national security of the eastern region by facilitating swift movement of defence forces and their equipment. The remote districts of Anjaw, Changlang, Lohit, Lower Dibang Valley, Dibang Valley and Tirap of Arunachal Pradesh will be greatly benefitted. This will provide an alternate and shorter route from Dibrugarh in eastern Assam through north bank of the Brahmaputra with Delhi and Kolkata via Rangiya," chief public relations officer of NFR, Pranav Jyoti Sharma, said.

The design of the composite-welded truss has been done by M/s Ram Boll, Denmark through RITES Ltd (earlier known as Rail India Technical and Economic Service) and the proof-check was done by M/s Anwikar Consultant, Germany.

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PM inaugurates country's longest bridge in Assam

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