The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, on May 26, 2017, inaugurated India’s longest bridge – the 9.15 km long Dhola-Sadiya bridge, over the River Brahmaputra, in Assam. This was his first engagement on the third anniversary of his swearing-in as Prime Minister. The bridge will enhance connectivity and greatly reduce travel time between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
Here it is worth mentioning that 30,000 tonnes of steel has been used in the construction of Dhola-Sadiya Bridge.The travel time from Dhola Gaon to Sadiya Islampur Tiniali through Parsuram Kund bridge is eight hours, while through ferry service it takes 4.5 hours. But, Dhola-Sadiya will make the journey possible in just 30 minutes, reducing travel time by four hours. Dhola-Sadiya bridge project will enhance the entire transport system of North Assam as 375 km of the Brahmaputra river bank has no bridge for transportation. There is only the Kaliabor bridge in Central Assam and at present all the transport are being carried out through water. The Dhola-Sadiya bridge project will serve 2,20,000 people in the region covered. Since the bridge is located close to India’s border with China, it will help quick movement of military troops and artillery in times of conflict.
At 9.15 km, the bridge is longer than the Bandra-Worli Sea Link (5.6 km) by nearly two-thirds. Sadiya is the birthplace of iconic singer Bhupen Hazarika. It was once a thriving town until an earthquake struck on August 15, 1950 and the mighty Brahmaputra changed its course, engulfing half the town within days. Since then, the place has been struggling with transportation woes. The fourth bridge on the Brahmaputra, it will boost communication across eastern Arunachal Pradesh. The most significant beneficiary will be the Army, whose convoys will now save an estimated three to four hours in their journey from Assam to their posts at Kibithoo, Wallong and Chaglagam on the Arunachal-China border. Thus, the bridge is a great strategic boost to India’s defence capabilties in the North East.
After unveiling a plaque to mark the inauguration, the Prime Minister travelled, and walked on the bridge for a few minutes. Later, addressing a public meeting at Dhola, the Prime Minister said that the inauguration of the bridge marks the end of a long wait for the people of this area.
The Prime Minister said infrastructure is extremely important for development, and the effort of the Union Government is to fulfil the dreams and wishes of the people. He said this bridge enhances connectivity between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, and opens the door for economic development, on a big scale.
He said the eastern and north-eastern parts of the country have the greatest potential for economic development, and this bridge is just one element of the Union Government’s vision in this regard.
The Prime Minister said the bridge will bring about a positive change in the lives of the common people. He said the Union Government is placing great emphasis on the development of waterways as well.
The Prime Minister said enhanced connectivity between the North-East and other parts of the country is a priority for the Union Government, and work has been greatly speeded up in this regard. He said that good connectivity in the North-East will also link the region with the economy of South-East Asia.
The Prime Minister also spoke of the immense tourism potential of the North-East. He said the Union Government has decided to name the Dhola-Sadiya bridge after the great musician, lyricist and poet, Bhupen Hazarika.
By Uday India Bureau