By Pradeep Kumar
ITANAGAR, Oct 30: The 4.94-km Bogibeel Bridge over mighty Brahmaputra River, the longest rail-cum-road bridge in India between Dhemaji and Dibrugarh districts in Assam, is yet to be completed though trial run by a special train with 15 coaches was conducted on October 22 last.
The 2-kam road over bridge (ROB) which would link NH-37 with the bridge is not complete as yet for inordinate delay on being caught in official channel, the longest in the world. Interestingly, Assam Govt had floated the tender and a A class contractor started work after winning the bid in December last year.
However, despite completion of phase-wise works, payment was not released for lack of sanction. Work continued considering the importance of the bridge, but the payment was help up till August last, informed sources told this daily on the spot on Monday.
When the central Govt has repeatedly announced to give top priority to development of North East region, such delay was intriguing to justify the common adage – in Govt the left hand does not know what the right hand does.
The work could not be completed on its target (June) for delayed sanction. Thus, the contractor has deployed 200 laboureres to execute the rest work on war footing in three shifts to complete the work by November end and kept till December 25 as a buffer zone considering the uncertain weather.
Project assistant engineer D P Nath, when asked, confidently said the work would be completed by November end if no unforeseen hurdle is created to make the road-cum-railway bridge functional. This would serve as a boon for commuters of Eastern Arunachal Pradesh districts of East Siang, Siang, West Siang, Upper Siang, Namsai, Lohit and Anjaw.
The bridge has 39 spans of 125 m and a superstructure of composite welded steel truss and reinforced concrete designed to carry a double line 1,676-mm broad gauge railway line on the lower deck and a 3-lane road on the upper deck. On completion it will provide a link between Rangia-Murkongselek section of NEF Railway on north bank of Brahmaputra and Lumding-Dibrugarh section on the south.
Its location is of strategic importance to India as it will significantly enhance India’s ability to transport troops and supplies to its border along China and Tibet. Arunachal Pradesh alone shares 1,080-km of Indo-China border, demarcated by MacMohan line.
The bridge traces its origins to 1985 Assam Accord, among several major infrastructural projects to be set up in Assam as per the pact. Sanctioned by the GoI in 1997-98, its construction was inaugurated in 2002 by then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.
The bridge is located about 20-km away from Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border and would serve as an alternative to Koila Bhomora Setu near Tezpur in providing connectivity to nearly five million people living in upper Assam and Arunachal. It is the fourth rail-road bridge on Brahmaputra River in Assam and second longest one after Dhola-Sadiya Bridge which is a road bridge of 9.15 k length.