Naren­dra Modi, Prime min­is­ter of In­dia

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Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi in­au­gu­rated on Fri­day In­dia’s long­est span, the 9.15 km Dho­laSadiya bridge across river Lo­hit at the east­ern­most tip of As­sam, on May 26. The bridge is 3.55 km longer than the Ban­dra-Worli Sea Link in Mum­bai. The open­ing of the bridge is among the high­lights of Modi’s pro­gramme dur­ing his visit to As­sam to at­tend the first an­niver­sary of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led state gov­ern­ment. Lo­hit is one of three rivers – the oth­ers are Dibang and Siang – that meet to form the Brahma­pu­tra down­stream of the site of the bridge that con­nects Dhola vil­lage and Sadiya town, 540 km east of As­sam’s prin­ci­pal city Guwa­hati. Sadiya is the birth­place of bal­ladeer Bhu­pen Hazarika. The bridge, de­signed to fa­cil­i­tate the move­ment of bat­tle tanks, is ex­pected to help move­ment of troops to the bor­der with China in the Wal­longKibithu sec­tor in south­ern Arunachal Pradesh. The sec­tor had fallen along with Tawang in the north­west to the Chi­nese in the 1962 war. The project, worth Rs 950 crore, was started in 2011. It will re­duce the travel time for peo­ple on ei­ther bank of river Lo­hit by at least eight hours. But Dhola-Sadiya is not the only bridge in the North­east that will go into the record books. Long­est rail-road bridge Also ex­pected to be in­au­gu­rated by 2018 is Bogibeel, the fourth and east­ern­most bridge across the

Brahma­pu­tra. This bridge near Di­bru­garh town, 4.94 km in length, will be In­dia’s long­est road-rail bridge. Like Dhola-Sadiya, Bogibeel will also be of im­mense strate­gic im­por­tance as it will en­able faster troop move­ments across the Brahma­pu­tra be­sides pro­vid­ing a direct link be­tween peo­ple on op­po­site banks who have to take a 500km de­tour via the ex­ist­ing Kali­aBhomora bridge down­stream. Bogibeel con­nects Di­bru­garh town on the south­ern bank of Brahma­pu­tra and Si­la­p­athar on the north­ern bank. The con­struc­tion of the bridge, ap­proved in 1996, was ini­ti­ated by the first BJP-led NDA gov­ern­ment in 2002. The Congress-led UPA gov­ern­ment ac­knowl­edged the strate­gic im­por­tance of the bridge and de­clared it as a na­tional project in 2007. But the progress of the project, un­der­taken by the firm that build Ban­dra-Worli Sea Link, has been slow. The cost has thus spi­ralled from the ini­tial Rs 1,767 crore in 2002 to Rs 6,000 crore now. Long­est tun­nel, tallest rail bridge Ar­guably In­dian Rail­way’s tough­est project, this line will boast of two In­dian records once com­pleted by 2020. Th­ese are the long­est rail­way tun­nel and the tallest rail­way bridge. The North­east Fron­tier Rail­way (NFR) started con­struc­tion of this line – orig­i­nally part of the am­bi­tious Trans-Asian Rail­way – in 2008 af­ter it was de­clared as a na­tional project. Rail­way of­fi­cials said work was pro­gress­ing at speed de­spite chal­lenges of weather, ter­rain and mil­i­tants. The project is in two sec­tions – the 84km Jiribam-Tupul and the 27km Tupul-Im­phal – span­ning 111km. The track will pass through 45 tun­nels, 25 of which were com­pleted by April 2016. The to­tal length of the tun­nels would be 60.2 km, which is more than half the to­tal track length, and the long­est one (Tun­nel 12) would be 11.55 km long to dis­place the cur­rent record­holder Bani­hal in in Kash­mir from the top spot by 100 me­tres. “The two sec­tions have 22 ma­jor and 142 mi­nor bridges. Th­ese in­clude what will be the world’s tallest rail bridge with a pier height of 141 me­tres – al­most equal to two Qutab Mi­nars stacked over each other,” NFR spokesper­son Pranav Jy­oti Sharma. Be­cause of ter­rain and scanty pop­u­la­tion, the en­tire stretch of this project will have nine sta­tions, Tupul on the out­skirts of Ma­nipur cap­i­tal Im­phal be­ing the east­ern­most. The an­tic­i­pated cost of the project is Rs 9,657 crore, which com­pares favourably with the sim­i­larly treach­er­ous 210 km Lumd­ingSilchar hill sec­tion in As­sam that was sanc­tioned in 1996-97 at an ini­tial cost of Rs 648 crore but ended up cost­ing Rs 6,000 crore upon com­ple­tion in 2015. The rail­way line is ex­pected to give Ma­nipur’s land­locked Im­phal Val­ley – of­ten trou­bled by high­way block­ades in the sur­round­ing Naga hills – a cheaper route to the In­dia be­yond. Also, the move­ment of goods by train is ex­pected to bring down prices from In­dia, though Ma­nipur sus­tains mainly through im­ports from Myan­mar. The rail­way line from Ma­nipur is ex­pected to be ex­tended to Moreh on the bor­der with Myan­mar where bor­der trade av­er­ages Rs 350 mil­lion an­nu­ally.

All you need to know about Dhola-Sadiya Bridge, In­dia’s long­est river bridge

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi on Fri­day in­au­gu­rated the Dhola-Sadiya Bridge in As­sam, which is In­dia's long­est river bridge. Here are 10 things to know about the bridge:

1. Span­ning 9.15 km, the bridge is built across the Lo­hit river, which is a trib­u­tary of the Brahma­pu­tra. It will con­nect As­sam and east­ern Arunachal Pradesh. The to­tal length of the project, in­clud­ing the ap­proach roads on each side, is 28.50 km.

2. The bridge is lo­cated 540 km from As­sam’s cap­i­tal Dis­pur and 300 km from Arunachal Pradesh cap­i­tal Itanagar. It con­nects Sa­dia town in As­sam’s Tin­sukia dis­trict with Dhola vil­lage, also in As­sam.

3. The bridge will re­duce the travel time be­tween As­sam and Arunachal Pradesh from six hours to just one hour as the dis­tance will shrink by 165 km.

4. It is 3.55 km longer than the Ban­dra-Worli sea link in Mum­bai. The sea link has now be­come the sec­ond long­est river bridge in the coun­try.

5. The con­struc­tion of the Dho­laSadiya bridge be­gan in 2011 by the Min­istry of Road Trans­port along with Navayuga En­gi­neer­ing Com­pany Ltd., un­der the publicpri­vate-part­ner­ship agree­ment

6. A sum of Rs 2,056 crore has been spent on the bridge that can with­stand 60 tonnes of weight, in­clud­ing bat­tle tanks.

7. The bridge, which has a three­lane car­riage way, will also cater to the strate­gic re­quire­ments of the coun­try in the bor­der ar­eas of Arunachal Pradesh, be­sides fa­cil­i­tat­ing nu­mer­ous hy­dro power projects com­ing up in the State, as it is the most sought af­ter route for var­i­ous power project de­vel­op­ers.

8. The bridge will make it much eas­ier for Army con­voys to reach out­posts near the China bor­der. It is also ex­pected to boost tourism as there is no civil­ian air­port in Arunachal Pradesh and this will make the road trans­port smoother.

9. The bridge will in­crease in­dus­trial in­vest­ments with bet­ter bor­der trade be­tween the North­east and South Asian coun­tries.

10. State-run SAIL is the largest sup­plier of steel for the bridge. The PSU has sup­plied around 90% or around 30,000 tonnes of steel, in­clud­ing TMT, struc­turals and plates, for the bridge.

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