Dhola-Sadiya Bridge: India’s longest Dhola-Sadiya bridge, situated in Assam, will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi today. With the inauguration of the bridge, the central government is eyeing a major push in road connectivity in the North-East. It has been learned that state-run SAIL is the largest supplier of steel for the bridge. The 9.15 km-bridge will connect Dhola on the Brahmaputra’s south bank to Sadiya on the north. The bridge is longer than the Bandra-Worli Sea Link (5.6 km) by nearly two-thirds. But the bridge is much more than that. The bridge with its sheer reach assumes significance as it would send a message to China. Brigadier (retired) Ranjit Borthakur told Indian Express that the bridge will immensely help the Army in swift mobilisation and movement of troops and heavy equipment to the frontier areas. The Army had been pressing for this bridge for a long time, said Borthakur.
Till now, Army convoys in Assam either had to spend hours crossing the river by boat from Dhola to Sadiya, or take a circuitous 10-hour, 250 km road trip from Dinjan division HQ, near Tinsukia, to Tezu in Arunachal, before driving ahead to the border.
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Apart from the defence point of view, the bridge has another crucial aspect- its contribution to Arunachal Pradesh. Arunachal Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein said that the bridge will immensely benefit the state. “While movement of goods will become smoother, our people will have faster access to healthcare and education. Tourism will also receive a big push with eastern Arunachal becoming easily accessible.” he told IE.
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While China has so far claimed Arunachal Pradesh as South Tibet, India asserts that the dispute covers Aksai Chin area which was occupied by China during the 1962 war. The two sides have so far held 19 rounds of talks with Special Representatives to resolve the boundary dispute, a PTI report says.
A few days ago, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had said that the Dhola-Sadia bridge that the prime minister would inaugurate on May 26 would meet a vital requirement of the country’s defence perspective. “The Dhola-Sadia bridge would not only ease hardship of the people of Sadia but also fulfil a vital requirement in terms of the country,” Sonowal was quoted as saying by PTI.
Here are key facts about the bridge
- The bridge is 3.55 km long which will make it the longest bridge in India overtaking the Bandra-Worli sea link.
- The construction of this bridge began in 2011 and the project cost was estimated to be Rs 950 crore, reported PTI. The design is such that the bridge can withstand the movement of military tanks.
- The bridge is located 540-km away from Assam capital Dispur and 300 km away from Arunachal Pradesh capital Itanagar. The aerial distance to the Chinese border is less than 100 km.
- The new bridge is being constructed over the Brahmaputra. Interestingly, after Kaliabhomora bridge near Tezpur, there is no bridge over the Brahmaputra for the next 375 km upstream till Dhola, where this bridge is being constructed.
- The bridge is expected to cut travel time between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Since there is no civilian airport in Arunachal Pradesh, the bridge will help people to reach the nearest rail head in Tinsukia and the airport in Dibrugarh easily.
- The bridge was originally scheduled to open in 2015 but CM Somwal told PTI that the bridge was expedited after Modi assumed charge in 2014.
- The Bharatiya Janata Party government will complete one year in Assam on May 24 and the inauguration of bridge can mark the grand celebration.
- With the inauguration of this bridge, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will kick-start the celebrations of the NDA government’s three years in office from the eastern-most part of the country.