Calling it a historic feat that will enhance connectivity to the Northeast, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday inaugurated the country’s longest rail-cum-road bridge in Bogibeel over the Brahmaputra river in Assam. The inauguration of the bridge coincided with the birth anniversary of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, under whose government the work for the bridge started in 2002.
Addressing a public gathering in Assam’s Dhemaji district, Modi took a veiled dig at the erstwhile Congress government, saying after Vajpayee lost power in 2004 several key infrastructure projects of his era were not completed, which, in turn, adversely impacted the nations’ development trajectory.
“Vajpayee ji had a vision for the development of the Bogibeel bridge. This bridge is also a tribute to that vision of Atal Ji. When Vajpayee’s government lost power in 2004, several key infrastructure projects of his era were not completed,” Modi said.
The Bogibeel project was a part of the 1985 Assam Accord and was sanctioned in 1997-98. The foundation stone was laid by then prime minister HD Deve Gouda on January 22, 1997, but the commencement of work on the project was done by Vajpayee on April 21, 2002.
Delayed infra projects were adversely impacting India’s development trajectory. When we assumed office, we added speed to these projects and worked towards their quick completion: PM @narendramodi
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) December 25, 2018
The PM also underscored the fact that after the BJP government assumed office in 2014, priority was accorded to key projects and their quick completion was also ensured. “Things have changed after May 2014 and topmost priority is being accorded to key projects. Delayed infra projects were adversely impacting India’s development trajectory. When we assumed office, we added speed to these projects,” the PM said.
After inaugurating the bridge that connects Dhemaji and Dibrugarh, Modi and his cavalcade took a ride, stopping in the middle and waving at thousands of people waiting on either side. The PM also flagged off the Tinsukia-Naharlagun Intercity Express. The train will run five days a week.
Calling the bridge a lifeline for crores of people in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, Modi said it would also boost the economy and improve trade. The bridge would help the patients in North East with improved connectivity and faster transportation, the PM said.
“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,” he said.
The double-decker bridge, the fourth across the Brahmaputra, has two railway lines on the lower deck and a three-lane road on the upper, strong enough to withstand movement of heavy military tanks.
The Bogibeel Bridge, which will have a serviceable period of around 120 years, is India’s only fully welded bridge for which European welding standards were adhered to for the first time in the country.
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