Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday 26th of May inaugurated the country’s longest river bridge in eastern Assam over the Lohit River, a major tributary of the mighty Brahmaputra. PM Modi, who arrived in the morning hours from New Delhi, dedicated the new bridge to the nation and named it after legendary Assamese cultural personality Dr Bhupen Hazarika after lobbying by local associations such as the Arunachal Pradesh Literary Society which pointed out that Hazarika, who died in 2011, worked relentlessly for unity & integrity for all castes, creeds and religions through his songs and music.
“The road connectivity will see a major transformation as this bridge will fill a huge connectivity gap that has existed in the region. It will also enhance connectivity between Assam & Arunachal Pradesh, and opens the door for economic development on a big scale,” said Modi while addressing a rally at Dhola in Assam.
The bridge is expected to reduce the distance from Rupai (Assam) on NH-37 to Meka-Roing (Arunachal Pradesh) on NH-52 by 165 km and thus give a major boost to overall economic development in the region. PM Modi added that the infrastructure, along with road & rail connectivity, is extremely important for development.
“The effort of the Union government is to fulfil the dreams & wishes of the people,” commented Modi in the presence of Assam governor Banowarilal Purohit and the State chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal adding that the Centre was placing great emphasis on the development of waterways as well in the region.
Modi asserted that the eastern and north-eastern parts of India have the greatest potential for economic development. The enhanced connectivity between the region and other parts of the country, and also good communication linking the region with the economy of South-East Asia remains the priority for the Centre, he declared.
Constructed with a budget of rupees 950 crore (9.5 billion rupees, 150 million US dollars) and connecting Assam with Arunachal, the Bhupen Hazarika bridge is expected to change the lives of thousands of families. Moreover, it is assumed that the 9.16 km river bridge will fulfil a vital requirement in terms of India’s defence perspective as it is only 100 km away from the 3,225-kilometre-long McMahon Line separating India from Tibet (China), a border which is disputed by the Beijing government and the subject of the 1962 Sino-Indian War.
Nava J. Thakuria