Mumbai, May 10: After nine years of delay, the Bogibeel India's longest rail-road cum bridge is all set to be opened by this year. Its believed PM Narendra Modi will inaugurate the bridge before 2019 to kick-start the assembly elections across India. The purpose of the bridge is to boost the defence logistics along the China border, and reduce travel time of rail and road users between the north and south banks of the Brahmaputra in the eastern region of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
The double-decker bridge has three road lanes above, and two railway lines below. The foundation stone of the five-kilometre bridge was laid in the regime of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, but it took almost 16 years for its making. The cost of the project also shot up from Rs 1,700 crore to Rs 6,000 crore. The Bogibeel bridge, initially set to be inaugurated in the year 2009, missed several deadlines and is being constructed since 2002.
Ved Prakash, Chief Spokesperson of Indian Railways said, "All civil, technical and signalling work will finish by July 2018, and after that, the operations will start. Also, by then the approvals from the railway safety commissioner will be received." quoted by Hindustan Times.
The railway officer further added the bridge would save the time of army who currently crosses the river by boat, which takes an hour to travel from one end to another end, while after the bridge is opened it will just take five minutes for them.
The ambitious project will solve logistic issues for the armed forces along the China border, to get supplies from Tezpur immediately during emergencies. India has 3,488-km long land boundary with China with almost 75 percent of it falls in Arunachal Pradesh alone.
The opening of Bogibeel bridge will save at least three hours of travel time between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Also, it will make Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh easily accessible from Dibrugarh. Meanwhile, the distance between Delhi and Dibrugarh will be reduced by 155 km, saving three hours of the train journey. However, as of now, whether the existing train’s route will be changed or a new train will be introduced is yet to be decided by railways.
It is believed the bridge will help bring development in the eastern parts of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. Also, it will strengthen the defence stationed at China border in the eastern region of India.