Referring to Dr Bhupen Hazarika’s timeless song: “Mohabahu Brahmaputra mahamilonor tirtha …..”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today termed the just inaugurated Bogibeel Bridge, country’s longest rail-road bridge, over Brahmaputra river as the lifeline of lakhs of people living in eastern Assam and eastern Arunachal Pradesh.
“The inauguration of the Bogibeel Bridge is a historic feat and I am glad to be here in Assam, among you all on this special day. The people of Assam have made a strong contribution towards the development of our nation. Several stalwarts from Assam were involved in the freedom struggle as well,” the Prime Minister said addressing the mammoth gathering at Kareng Chapori in Dhemaji district on the north bank of the river after dedicating the bridge to the nation unveiling a plaque.
Flagging off the inaugural run of the Intercity Express train between Tinsukia (Assam) and Naharlagun (Arunachal Pradesh) over the bridge immediately after its inauguration, the Prime Minister said that the bridge was the biggest gift to the former Prime Minister, Late Atal Behari Vajpayee, who had inaugurated the construction work of the project in April, 2002, on the occasion of his birth anniversary today.
Modi said the 4.94 km bridge was not only going to spur life and livelihood of millions of people from Assam and Arunachal Pradesh but also would be a boon to the country’s defence.
He said the bridge which is the first fully welded one in the country, had the capacity to facilitate landing of fighter aircraft besides reducing the distance between the frontier state of Arunachal Pradesh and south bank of Brahmaputra in Assam.
It is India’s only fully welded bridge for which European codes and welding standards were adhered to for the first time in the country.
“On this day of Good Governance, while congratulating the people of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh for the bridge, I would like to term the bridge as a symbol of good governance,” the Prime Minister said.
He also mentioned that compared to only three bridged constructed over the Brahmaputra during the last 70 years since Independence, the present government in the Centre completed construction of three more bridges over the river within the last four and a half years. “Process has been initiated to build five more bridges over the Brahmaputra and once completed those bridges will revolutinise the connectivity, economy and life of the people in the region,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister stated that the present government at the Centre was committed for massive upgrading of the physical and digital connectivity in the region to spur rapid economic development as it believed that the country would be strengthened only when the Northeast region would be sufficiently strengthened.
“Rs 70,000 crore is being spent by the Centre to build over 5500 km national highways in the Northeast while 15 new railway line are being laid besides converting all the meter gauge lines to broad gauge lines. Very soon all the state capitals in the region will be put on the Indian Railway map,” Modi said adding that equal emphasis is being given in digital connectivity and the internet speed in the region set to be upscaled soon as optical fibre cables which have reached Tripura will soon reach Assam.
He also mentioned about the initiatives undertaken by the Central government to improve the inland water transport system in Assam and about successful implementation of several flagship welfare schemes of the government.