GUWAHATI, Dec 23 - Preparations are on in full swing for inauguration of the Bogibeel bridge over the Brahmaputra river by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 25. Officials at the Maligaon-headquartered Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) said the Prime Minister will arrive at Dibrugarh that day in a special flight from Delhi.
“The bridge inauguration programme will take place tentatively at around 1:30 pm. He will first hold a ribbon cutting ceremony at the southern end of the bridge. Afterwards, he will pass over the bridge in a cavalcade to the north bank where a public meeting will be held at Kareng Chapori. He will then show the green flag to the Dibrugarh-Naharlagun special train, which will be the first train to pass over the bridge,” said Pranav Jyoti Sharma, Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO) of NFR.
Sharma added that regular train services across the bridge will commence from December 26.
The NFR plans to introduce two new Intercity Express trains connecting Tinsukia and Naharlagun via the new bridge. While one train will run five days in a week, the other will run weekly. They will have stoppages at New Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Dhamalgaon, Dhemaji, Gogamukh, North Lakhimpur and Harmuti.
With a length of 4.94 km, Bogibeel is the fourth bridge over the Brahmaputra and also the longest rail-cum-road bridge of the country. It has double line broad gauge tracks and a three-lane road.
The Central government had declared the Bogibeel project as a ‘National Project’ in 2007. The Bogibeel bridge project was a part of the Assam Accord of 1985.
“The foundation stone of the project was laid by the then Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda on January 22, 1997, and work commencement of the project was done by Prime Minister Late Atal Bihari Vajpayee on April 21, 2002,” said the NFR CPRO.
The sanctioned estimated cost of the project was Rs 3,230.02 crore. “Revised estimate of the project amounts to Rs 4,857 crore which has been approved and sanctioned by the Railway Board to cover escalation and increased bridge length,” Sharma said.
The inauguration of the long-awaited project is expected to give a huge boost to connectivity, as well as trade and commerce, in this part of the country. The Bogibeel bridge has been a long standing demand of the people of Assam and of the entire northeastern region.
The bridge project has missed several deadlines partly because of the challenge of building it over a turbulent Brahmaputra river.
Situated 17 km downstream of Dibrugarh town, the bridge will also enhance the national security of the eastern region of India by facilitating swift movement of defence forces and their equipment.
The rail link connects two existing railway networks running at the southern and northern banks of the Brahmaputra. The bridge also connects the NH-37 at the south bank and the NH-52 at north bank of the river.