Guwahati: After a wait that lasted 21 years, the dream of over five million people living in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh finally came true as Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurates Bogibeel bridge, India’s longest rail-cum-road bridge on the mighty river the Brahmaputra, on Tuesday. Here are the benefits for the people of the Northeast.

1. Double-line broad gauge track

The 4.94 km-long Bogibeel bridge is the fifth bridge on the Brahmaputra and third rail-cum-road bridge on the mighty river. The Bogibeel Bridge is the Prime Minister’s Christmas gift to the nation. Now the people of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh are eagerly waiting for the historic moment of the inauguration. The bridge with a double-line broad gauge track and three-lane road will be the lifeline of the north-eastern region of the country. It will facilitate connectivity between the northern and southern banks of the Brahmaputra in the area adjoining Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

2. Connecting Dibrugarh and Dhemaji

The bridge will not only connect the Dibrugarh and Dhemaji districts of Assam but also reduce the road-rail distance. It will provide better rail-road connectivity to the lesser developed areas of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

3. National security strengthened

The Bogibeel Bridge will strengthen the national security of the Northeast by facilitating faster movement of armed forces and their war equipment. This bridge will help in logistical support for the Indian Army deployed in Arunachal Pradesh bordering China.

4. Travel time cut short

The train journey between Dibrugarh and Delhi will come down from 37 hours to 34 hours. The bridge will benefit the people living in Arunachal Pradesh.

5. Connecting highways with road as well as rail

The bridge will link NH-37 on the southern bank and NH-52 on the northern bank of the Brahmaputra with a 29.47-km long national highway. The national highway road link consists of 11.25 km on the southern bank, 13.26 km on the northern bank and 4.94 km on the main bridge. The people of both banks can now easily travel by road and train.

6. Hospital now nearer home

Earlier, the people from Dhemaji to Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh were facing a lot of problems to reach the Assam Medical College Hospital, Dibrugarh University, by crossing the Brahmaputra by a ferry service.

Congress swings between criticism and claim

When the PMO had declared the inaugural date of the Bogibeel Bridge, Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) filed a complaint with the Assam State Election Commission. The party in opposition alleged that the announcement had violated the Election Commission’s model code of conduct when the first phase of panchayat poll was going on in the state.

On the other hand, while the UPA government failed to complete the project during their 10-year tenure, Congress is trying to claim some mileage from the development. Some of them claimed on Twitter that the Congress government had constructed the bridge!

Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi tweeted, “People of Assam will never forget that Congress Govt constructed the Sadiya-Dhola bridge, Bogibeel bridge.”

NDTV’s double standards

While the bridge will help in the economic development of the eastern flank of the country’s landmass, some media houses have carried negative stories about the Bogibeel Bridge.  

NDTV reported: “Boatmen fear unemployment ahead of India’s longest railroad bridge”. The same media house had earlier reported, “No bridge, Assam students cross the river on banana stems to reach school”.

While China built the world’s longest bridge, the same media house had reported: “As China opens world’s longest bridge, excited travellers explore route”.

Some local media houses in Assam carried negative stories about the bridge, too.