19-07-2017 05:00 PM | Lathika Saju | My Indian Dream
India’s longest bridge is strategically important
The longest bridge in India, the Bhupen Hazarika Setu also referred to as the Dhola–Sadiya Bridge is the first permanent road connection between northern Assam and eastern Arunachal Pradesh. It is named Bhupen Hazarika in honor of the popular singer and filmmaker from Assam.
It is a beam bridge that spans the Lohit River which is a major tributary of Brahmaputra. The bridge was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May 2017. The PM who appeared to be impressed by the enormous bridge said that it will not just save time and money but will bring about an economic revolution in the country.
It is of strategic importance to India as it stretches all the way to China’s border ending just 100 km short of it.
Keeping in mind the sporadic incursions by the Chinese Army, the bridge has been designed to handle the weight of 60-tonne (130,000-pound) tanks such as the Indian Army’s Arjun and T-72 main battle tanks. Whenever the situation demands, the Bhupen Hazarika bridge will facilitate rapid movement of India’s defence assets.
Ever since the Sino – India War, tensions have always existed at the border with China disputing India’s claim to Arunachal Pradesh, politically and militarily. This bridge proves to be an important tactical asset in the ongoing dispute.
Construction of the bridge began in November 2011 and the project costs were estimated to be about Rs 950 crore. In 2015, this project was included in Centre’s 15,000 crore package aimed at improving roads in the bordering states.
The length of the bridge is 9.15 kilometer which is almost 30% longer than the famous Bandra-Worli sea link in Mumbai. It is also called the Dhola Sadia bridge as it is located in Sadia that is 540 kilometres from Guwahati and connects Dhola which is about 300 kilomteers from Itanagar – the capital of Arunachal Pradesh.
The bridge is a boon to the people of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh as it reduces the travel time between the two states by up to four hours. This is important as there is no functional airport in Arunachal Pradesh.
The Bhupen Hazarika bridge is the first ever bridge that is strong enough to withstand tanks in that region. Earlier, the troops had a harrowing time getting to Tinsukia in Assam, from where they usually enter Arunachal Pradesh.
At 9.1 kilometres in length, the Bhupen Hazarika bridge is the longest bridge in India. However, it may soon be eclipsed by the New Ganga Bridge Project under construction in the Indian state of Bihar. With a length of 9.8 kilometres, it is expected to become the longest bridge in India upon its estimated completion in December 2020.
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