Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday inaugurated the Bogibeel Bridge. It is to be noted that Bogibeel Bridge is India’s longest rail-road bridge, connecting the north and south banks of the Brahmaputra, falling in the eastern part of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
He also flagged off a train – the Tinsukia-Naharlagun Intercity Express, which will run five days a week. After inaugurating, PM Modi along with Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi and Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal also walked a few metres on the bridge.
Earlier in the day, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said that the inauguration of the bridge on the birth anniversary of late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a “fitting tribute” to the man who had commenced the project.
The Bogibeel bridge is 4.94 km long. The bridge, which is the second longest in Asia, has three-lane roads on top and double line rail below. The bridge is 32 metres above the water level of the Brahamaputra and is fashioned on a bridge that links Sweden and Denmark. The bridge will reduce travel time from Assam to Arunachal Pradesh to four hours and will cut out the detour of over 170 km via Tinsukia. It will also reduce Delhi to Dibrugarh train-travel time by about three hours to 34 hours as against 37 hours presently.
While former prime minister H D Deve Gowda laid the foundation stone for the Bogibeel bridge in January 1997, the work started only in April 2002 when former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee inaugurated the construction. With several deadlines having been missed over the past 16 years, the first freight train ran on it on December 3.
Importantly, Bogibeel is part of infrastructure projects planned by India to improve logistics along the border in Arunachal Pradesh. This includes the construction of a trans-Arunachal highway on the north bank of the Brahmaputra, and new road and rail links over the mighty river and its major tributaries such as the Dibang, Lohit, Subansiri and Kameng.