Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inaugurated India’s longest rail-cum-road bridge in Eastern Assam, cutting distance and time for civilians and the military to travel up close to the Chinese border through Arunachal Pradesh.

Aside from being a mega infrastructure project costing the nation close to Rs 6000 crore, the Bogibeel bridge, connecting Assam’s Dibrugarh and Dhemaji districts over the mighty Brahmaputra, has given India a massive strategic edge in so far as enhancing the capability to move troops and military hardware to the frontier in case of a necessity.

It was a historic moment as Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the country’s longest rail-cum-road bridge over the mighty Brahmaputra in Eastern Assam, it was the transformation to reality of a 21-year-old dream.

The inauguration of construction of the bridge started back in 2002, hence, as a tribute to the former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the historic bridge, dedicated to the nation, was inaugurated on the occasion of his 94th birth anniversary.

Prime Minister Modi who had arrived at the Mohanbari Airport in Dibrugarh at around 1:30 pm for the inauguration, took a chopper ride to the South Bank of the bridge in Dibrugarh.

PM Modi and his convoy then made their way to the south entrance of the bridge where he did the ceremonial ribbon cutting to formally inaugurate the bridge.

Modi BogibeelThe inauguration brought to end a long wait for the people of Assam and the nation. Living up to the occasion Prime Minister Modi in a unique gesture took a walk along the bridge leaving his convoy behind to greet the thousands who had gathered to get a glimpse of the PM.

Modi also drove along the bridge waving the gamocha all along as he made his way to the North Bank of the bridge at Kareng Chapori where he addressed a gathering besides falling off the Tinsukia-Naharlagun intercity express, the first train to cross the bridge after its inauguration.

In his address at Kareng Chapori in Dhemaji, PM congratulated the people of Assam on completion of the bridge even as he termed it as the lifeline for the region.

The 4.9 km long Bogibeel bridge, which is a double decker bridge with a two line rail track on lower deck and a three-lane road on the upper deck, is of great strategic significance from the defence perspective as it would drastically cut down the time taken for the movement of military troops and hardware to the frontier areas of Arunachal Pradesh along the India-China border.

No wonder, the Prime Minister laid so much significance on its inauguration. At a time when Chinese incursions are too frequent to be ignored, the Bogibeel bridge gives India the edge when compared to the past.

The bridge also significantly reduces travel time between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh giving a big boost to connectivity in the region.

It may be mentioned here that the Bogibeel project was part of the 1985 Assam Accord. The foundation stone of the bridge was laid almost 21 years ago by former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda on January 22, 1997.

On April 21, 2002, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee inaugurated the construction work of the mega project.

Situated 17-kilometers downstream of Dibrugarh town, the Bogibeel bridge is the fourth bridge over the Brahmaputra that will connect Dibrugarh and Dhemaji districts. The bridge has a serviceable period of around 120 years.

It is India’s only fully-welded bridge for which European codes and welding standards were adhered to for the first time in the country. For the first time in Indian Railways, the girder has steel floor system for railway tracks and concrete for road.