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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Braving COVID-19 odds, BRO builds bridge in strategic Arunachal district

Daporijo bridge on Subansiri river was inaugurated on Monday by Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu through video conferencing.

Written by Man Aman Singh Chhina | Chandigarh | Updated: April 20, 2020 7:59:32 pm
Daporijo Bridge, Arunachal Pradesh Bridge, Arunachal Pradesh The new Daporijo bridge, completed by BRO and inaugurated on Monday by the Arunachal Pradesh CM. (Express photo)

The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has managed to build a 430-ft bridge in a strategically important area in Arunachal Pradesh in just 27 days, despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 lockdown.

Daporijo bridge on Subansiri river, replacing an older bridge, was inaugurated on Monday by Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu through video conferencing.

Daporijo is one of the oldest district headquarters in the Upper Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh, and is considered to be the gateway to the Disputed Areas of Asaphila and Maza along the Indo-China Border. The recent tensions between the two countries over the Doklam issue had serious ramifications on the Upper Subansiri region.

A senior BRO official said that Daporijo is connected to the rest of the state through two main roads — the Likabali-Basar-Bame-Daporijo axis and the other Itanagar-Ziro-Raga-Daporijo axis. Subansiri river (also known as ‘river of gold’), to which the district owes its name, is the major river flowing through this region with two vital bridges as two lines of communication.

Sustenance of more than 600 villages and 3,000 security personnel on the LAC depends on the bridges at Tamin (400-foot bailey suspension bridge) and at Daporijo (430-foot multi-span bailey bridge), as they facilitate movement of supplies like food and ammunition.

“Over the years these bridges, the only lifelines of Upper Subansiri, deteriorated owing to weathering and their load classifications have drastically reduced to just 9 tonnes, thereby severely impacting the infrastructural development in Upper Subansiri District and the movement to 451 villages and approximately 3000 security forces deployed in the strategic Indo China borders,” an officer said.

During a routine inspection by BRO officials, it was noticed that the bridge had rusted and developed cracks. The BRO pitched this issue at the highest level, including Military Operations branch and the Ministry of Defence.

“On receipt of ministry clearance, bridge resources were mobilised within a month and massive effort was put in to organise the stores on site. A great amount of planning went in arranging transport, stores, liaisoning and move of bridge stores due to the lockdown and COVID-19 precautions. The assessment of all new bridge parts and local transfers from nearby Projects (Project Brahmank and Udayak) was organised by Project Arunank of BRO,” a BRO official said.

Construction of the bridge began on March 17 and after 27 days, it was ready.

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