Recently on 26th March, 2017 Prime Minister NarendraModi inaugurated the Dhola-Sadiya Bridge over the Lohit river- a tributary of Brahmaputra. The bridge which is one of the construction marvel of the country is also considered to be the longest bridge in India and it will improve road connectivity between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
The bridge will be the fourth over Brahmaputra River after Saraighat, KoliaBhomora and Bogibeel (nearing completion).
Here are the key details about the bridge and its significance in the context of improving connectivity in the North East. “The bridge will fill a huge connectivity gap that has existed in the region,” IANS quoted a statement from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
Built at a cost of Rs 2,096 crores, construction of the bridge began in 2010, when there was a Congress government at the Centre as well as in Assam. However, the groundwork for the project had begun in 2002, under the AtalBihari Vajpayee government.
The project was constructed as part of a public-private partnership between the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and a Vishakapatnam-based private construction company, Navayuga Engineering Company.
The 9.15 kilometre-long bridge is expected to be a boon to the residents of Sadiya, situated on the northern bank of Lohit, which has been isolated from the rest of the state. The bridge, which is 3.55 kilometre longer than Mumbai’s Bandra-Worli Sea Link, is considered strategically located for two reasons.
Firstly, the bridge is close to Arunachal Pradesh — a frontier state bordering China.
According to report in the absence of the bridge, it would take eight to 10 hours for anyone to travel from Anjaw in eastern Arunachal Pradesh to Assam’s Tinsukia or Dibrugarh. With the new bridge, Arunachal residents can reach Tinsukia and Dibrugarh faster.
“I am happy that we will have an architectural marvel in Sadiya that will be of some advantage to the army, but I am happier that it will solve a longstanding problem of the people of the sub-division. While the ferry ride between Dhola and Sadiya takes over two hours, by road it will now be a 30-minute ride”said a resident NorenSotia.
PrasantaSangmai, Sadiya SP SAID, “Besides improving the life of the people of Sadiya, this bridge will change the economy of many remote parts of Arunachal”.
The Ministry said the new bridge promises to usher in prosperity in the northeastern region and would provide efficient road connectivity to the remote and backward areas which have poor road infrastructure.
“This bridge will also give a major boost to overall economic development of the areas north of Brahmaputra in upper Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
The bridge will help the army convoys to cut their travel time by three to four hours. The North East is militarily important in lieu of its long border with arch-rival China. With an Air Force base in Tezpur and important army units like the 181 Brigade and the 2 Mountain Division, which are placed in Assam, the bridge will be military significant at times of war.
Notably, the bridge can withstand a military tank of at least 60 kilo-tonnes. Since northeast is in a high-seismic region, the bridge has been provided seismic buffers in all its 182 piers.
The benefit of the soon-to-be-inaugurated bridge can be gauged by the fact that in the absence of it, the army has to undertake over 10 hours of tedious journey on boat to reach eastern Arunachal Pradesh.