PM Modi inaugurates Bogibeel bridge, India's longest rail-cum-road bridge
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Bogibeel bridge in Assam today, in a bid to commemorate the birth anniversary of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the man who commenced the project. The bridge, which spans over the Brahmaputra, is India's longest rail-cum-road bridge, and will connect Dibrugarh on the south bank to Dhemaji in the north. Here's all about it.
A brief history of the Bogibeel bridge
The Bogibeel bridge was first sanction on January 22, 1997 under the H D Devegowda government, and the then Prime Minister had laid the foundation stone. However, construction did not begin until PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee inaugurated the project in 2002. In 2007, the bridge was given the status of a national project, and it was slated to be completed by 2009. However, it faced several delays.
The battle over the name of the bridge
At least seven names were suggested for the Bogibeel bridge. Assam's Sutia community demanded it be named after dynasty queen Sati Sadhini, while the Tai-Ahom community insisted that it be named after Ahom kingdom founder Chaolong Siu-ka-Pha. The Deori and the Mising people, meanwhile, demanded that it should be named Bhimbor Deuri and Swahid Kamala Miri, respectively.
Trial runs took place a couple of months back
Following its completion this year, the Indian Railways undertook the first trial train journey on the bridge on October 22, from Dhamalgaon railway station in Dibrugarh to Tangani railway station of Dhemaji. The successful trial run was named a historic moment by Union minister Piyush Goyal. A little over a month later, the Northeast Frontier Railway piloted the first freight train on the bridge.
'Dream come true', says Assam CM
"This bridge is a dream come true. It will not only connect Dhemaji and Dibrugarh districts, the north and south banks of Brahmaputra River, but will also play a major role in the economic growth of the region, strengthen security and boost connectivity," said Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal.
Basic details of the Bogibeel bridge
The Bogibeel bridge is 4.94km long, and is India's only fully welded bridge. Notably, the bridge is also the first one in India where European codes and welding standards were adhered to for the first time. It was constructed at a cost of Rs. 5,900cr, and has a serviceable period of 120 years.
How the bridge is set to help transportation
Considering the fact that the next road bridge and rail bridge over the Brahmaputra are 255km and 560km away, respectively, the Bogibeel bridge is expected to significantly bring down travel time for trains and road transport. It is expected to bring down travel time between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh by at least three hours. Further, it will also boost defense logistics along the 4,000km India-China border.
The other side of the Bogibeel story
Yet, despite all the benefits the bridge will bring, there's also a flip side to the story. Prior to establishment of the bridge, hundreds of people worked to ferry passengers and goods from one side to other side of the Brahmaputra from the Bogibeel ghat. Now, all these people are set to lose their livelihoods, and have to shift business elsewhere.
Boatmen are hoping the government understands their plight
"Everyone needs the bridge but it will surely affect our livelihood. Many have already started to shift their business and others are following. We hope the government also keeps us in mind and compensates everyone whose lands and jobs have been affected by the project," a boatman told News18.