Narendra Modi, Prime minister of India
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.