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PM Modi inaugurates Bogibeel Bridge in Assam; flags off first passenger train

The bridge will enhance defence logistics along the China border; it will enable the military to speed up the dispatch of forces to Arunachal Pradesh, which borders China. India and China share around 4000-kilometre-long border, with almost 75 percent in Arunachal Pradesh.

Dec 26, 2018 16:52 IST
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 25, 2018 inaugurated India's longest rail-road bridge ‘Bogibeel Bridge’ over the Brahmaputra River in Assam to boost defence along the border with China.

This 4.94 kilometre long bridge over the Brahmaputra river took nearly two decades and over Rs 5900 crore to get completed.

The bridge was inaugurated on the birth anniversary of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, under whose government the work for the bridge began in 2002.

What led to the delay in bridge construction?

The Bogibeel Bridge was a part of the 1985 Assam Accord and was approved in 1997-98. The foundation stone of the bridge was laid by then Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda on January 22, 1997, but the construction work commenced under the premiership of Vajpayee in April 2002.

Originally scheduled to be inaugurated in 2009, the project had missed several deadlines over the years due to changes in bridge design, and increase in project cost due to revisions in the scope of construction.

 

To end years of deadly agitation by Assamese nationalist groups, the present Government decided to undertake the construction of the Bogibeel bridge as part of the 1985 agreement. It took funding of over Rs 5900 crore to complete the project from the sanctioned estimated cost of around Rs 3000 crore.

Bogibeel Bridge

Located just over 20 kilometres from the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border, the Bogibeel Bridge will connect the south bank of the Brahmaputra river in Assam's Dibrugarh district with Silapathar in Dhemaji district, bordering Arunachal Pradesh, making travel to Pasighat easier.

The bridge includes the main bridge, dykes on the north and south banks, road network of 30 kilometres, rail network of 74 kilometres and six new railway stations.

The double-decker Bogibeel bridge has two railway lines on the lower deck and a three-lane road on the upper deck.

The bridge is 32 metres above the water level of the Brahmaputra and is designed as the bridge linking Sweden and Denmark.

It can bear the weight of India's heaviest 60 tonne battle tanks and so that fighter jets can land on it.

The Bridge will have a serviceable period of around 120 years.

It is India’s only fully welded bridge for which European welding standards were adhered to. It is Asia’s second longest rail-cum-road bridge.

The superstructure of the bridge was built by the joint venture of Hindustan Construction Company, Germany-based DSD Brouckenbau and VNR Infrastructure.

Rail network on Bogibeel Bridge

The Prime Minister also flagged off the Tinsukia-Naharlagun Intercity Express. The train will run five days a week.

The rail journey from Dibrugarh to the Arunachal Pradesh capital Itanagar will now be cut by 750 kilometres.

The rail line will be linked to Chowalkhowa, which is 5.83 kilometres from Dibrugarh, on the south bank and between Sisi Borgaon and Sirpani on the north bank.

The work on the railway line is being undertaken by Northeast Frontier Railway.

Reduce travel time

While the journey from Dibrugarh to Delhi currently takes more than 37 hours, the new bridge is likely to reduce the commute by three hours.

It will reduce travel time from Assam to Arunachal Pradesh to 4 hours (minus the 170-km detour via Tinsukia).

It will also reduce the distance to the North East by 165 km, saving fuel worth Rs 10 lakh per day in the region.

Enhance defence logistics

The bridge will enhance defence logistics along the China border; it will enable the military to speed up the dispatch of forces to Arunachal Pradesh, which borders China. India and China share around 4000-kilometre-long border, with almost 75 percent in Arunachal Pradesh.

Bogibeel Bridge is part of infrastructure projects planned by India to improve logistics along the border in Arunachal Pradesh such as construction of a trans-Arunachal highway on the north bank of the Brahmaputra; and road-rail links over its major tributaries such as the Dibang, Lohit, Subansiri and Kameng.

The 4.94 kilometre-long bridge will be the fourth rail-road bridge on the Brahmaputra River in Assam, the others being - Saraighat Bridge, Naranarayan Setu and the New Saraighat Bridge.

Earlier in 2017, India opened its longest bridge ‘Dhola-Sadiya’, the 9.1 kilometre bridge over the Lohit River that too connects Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

SAIL steel for Bogibeel Bridge

The Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) supplied around 35400 metric tonnes of steel for the construction of Bogibeel Road-cum-Rail Bridge on the river Brahmaputra. This quantity is little more than 50 percent of the total quantity of steel supplied for the bridge.

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