GUWAHATI: India’s longest bridge, over nine kilometres long, will be inaugurated today in Assam by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as his government completes three years in office. The bridge is among a series of infrastructure projects that PM Modi has fast-tracked since taking charge after a landslide win in 2014. Launched a decade ago under the government of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, PM Modi’s biggest challenge is to see these projects to completion without the years-long delays that have beset many key endeavours in Asia’s third largest economy.
10 facts about the Bhupen HazarikaSetu, Dhola-Sadiya bridge(Assamese:ভূপেন হাজৰিকা সেতু)
- The Dhola-Sadiya bridge is being built over the Lohit river, a tributary of the Brahmaputra.
- In Assam, the bridge is located in Sadia, 540 kilometres from Guwahati. Its other end is in Dhola, 300 kilometres from Itanagar, the capital of Arunachal.
- It about 9.2 km in length – that’s nearly 30 per cent longer that the famous Bandra-Worli Sealink in Mumbai.
- Once opened, the bridge will reduce travel time between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh by up to four hours. There is no operational airport in Arunachal.
- The strategic importance of the bridge for the military is huge. With the bridge, troops will be able to enter Arunachal Pradesh, which borders China, much more quickly and easily.
- The bridge has been designed to withstand the weight of 60-tonne battle tanks.
- There is no existing bridge in the region that is strong enough to allow the travel of tanks to Tinsukia, from where troops usually enter Arunachal.
- Construction began in 2011, when the Congress governed Assam. The cost of the project is about Rs. 950 crore.
- So far, there is little road connectivity between Assam and Arunachal – a strategy aimed at making it difficult for military incursion from China. Currently, the only route for people looking to travel from this part of Assam to Arunachal is by boat.
- Construction of this bridge was included in Rs. 15,000 crore-package sanctioned by the centre in 2015 to improve road connectivity in the border state.