The bridge is 3.55 km longer than the Bandra-Worli Sea Link in Mumbai. The opening of the bridge is among the highlights of Modi’s programme during his visit to Assam t o attend the first anniversary of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led state government.
Lohit is one of three rivers – the others are Dibang and Siang – that meet to form the Brahmaputra downstream of the site of the bridge that connects Dhola village and Sadiya town, 540 km east of Assam’s principal city Guwahati.
The bridge, designed to facilitate the movement of battle tanks, is expected to help movement of troops to the border with China in the Wallong-Kibithu sector in southern Arunachal Pradesh. The sector had fallen along with Tawang in the northwest to the Chinese in the 1962 war.
The project, worth ₹950 crore, was started in 2011. It will reduce the travel time for people on either bank of river Lohit by at least eight hours.
But Dhola-Sadiya is not the only bridge in the Northeast that will go into the record books.
Longest rail-road bridge
Also expected to be inaugurated by 2018 is Bogibeel, the fourth and easternmost bridge across the Brahmaputra. This bridge near Dibrugarh town, 4.94 km in length, will be India’s longest road-rail bridge.
Like Dhola-Sadiya, Bogibeel will also be of immense strategic importance as it will enable faster troop movements across the Brahmaputra besides providing a direct link between people on opposite banks who have to take a 500km detour via the existing Kalia Bhomora Bridge downstream.
Bogibeel connects Dibrugarh town on the southern bank of Brahmaputra and Silapathar on the northern bank.
The construction of the bridge, approved in 1996, was initiated by the first BJP-led NDA government in 2002. The Congress-led UPA government acknowledged the strategic importance of the bridge and declared it as a national project in 2007.
But the progress of the project, undertaken by the firm that build Bandra-Worli Sea Link, has been slow. The cost has thus spiralled from the initial Rs 1,767 crore in 2002 to Rs 6,000 crore now.