Ushering in a new revolution in the connectivity of Assam and other Northeastern states, Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated India’s longest Rail cum Road Bogibeel Bridge to the service of the nation on December 25, 2018. Landing at Mohanbari Air Port Dibrugarh, Prime Minister Modi arrived at Bogibeel at 2.30 PM and dedicated the 4.94 KM Bogibeel Bridge along with flagging off the Tinsukia-Naharlagun train service to new route.
Thereafter crossing the Bogibeel Bridge to reach Kareng Chapori on the north bank of the river Brahmaputra, Prime Minister Modi addressed a mammoth public rally. Beginning his address in Assamese, he referred to a stanza of the Bard of the Brahmaputra Dr. Bhupen Hazarika that is Brahmaputra is a confluence of unity. He also paid tributes to great personalities of Assam like Chaulung Siu-ka-Pha, Lachit Borphukan, Bir Chilarai and Sarbananda Singha. Taking a note of the impressive march of Assam in politics, social science, sports etc, he also paid his rich homage to Nightingale of Assam Dipali Borthakur.
Terming the inauguration of Bogibeel Bridge as a historic occasion, Prime Minister Modi said that the development of the country is intrinsically dependent on the development of Assam and other Northeastern states. Reiterating the Central Government’s commitment to the development of connectivity of North East, Modi said that in the last four and a half years the NDA Government attached tremendous important to the connectivity of the region along with expeditiously completing the pending projects of the previous government.
Starting the construction work way back in 2002, under the visionary leadership of former Prime Minister late Atal Behari Vajpayee, Modi said that it is because of the lackadaisical attitude of the previous Central and State Governments, completion of Bogibeel Bridge had been delayed inordinately. However, after assuming power at the Centre, the NDA Government completed more than 50 per cent work of the Bogibeel Project in just four and a half years enabling the government to dedicate the bridge to the service of the nation. He also maintained that if NDA government regained power in 2004, Bogibeel Bridge could have been commissioned 7-8 years ago.
Stating the contribution of late Atal Behari Vajpayee in the construction of Bogibeel Bridge, Modi said that he and his government feel honoured dedicating the bridge on the occasion of the former Prime Minister’s birthday which is celebrated throughout the country as Good Governance Day. He however, said that elevating the lives of the common masses and going above the personal agenda, if ‘Sabka ka Saath Sabka Vikash’ is implemented throughout the nation, Day of Good Governance caould really be celebrated in the country in letter and spirit, Modi added. Stating that both Central and State Governments are working in tandem, the Prime Minister said that the Bogibeel Bridge which is completely built with steel for the first time in the country is the glaring example of Centre and State’s synergistic approach for facilitating Sabka Ka Saath Sabka Vikash maxim. This bridge carries the testimony of the engineering excellence of Indian Railways besides turning into a boon for military and security requirement of the country.
This bridge is not only a mode of connection, it will be a life line for the people of Northeast, Modi added. This bridge will not only shrink the distance from Itanagar from the existing 700 KM to merely 200 KM, it will also cut down the travel time 5-6 hours. With the inauguration of the bridge, travelling to Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru from directly Northern Assam or Eastern Arunachal Pradesh without coming to Guwahati will become a reality.
Prime Minister Modi also said that since Dibrugarh is an important centre of health, education and businees of Assam, with the inauguration of Bogibeel Bridge, people from the Northern Assam can reach Dibrugarh for medical or educational needs seamlessly. He also said that the longest Dr. Bhupen Hazarika Dhola-Sadiya Bridge and longest Rail cum Road Bogibeel Bridge have added to the success stories for the state of Assam. Giving a comparative statement, the Prime Minister said that in the last four and a half years the present NDA Government has completed construction of three bridges as against the three bridges in the last seven decades by the previous governments. He also said that the construction of five new bridges are going on and once completed they will add new momentum to the connectivity of North East.
Prime Minister Modi also said that the present Central and State Governments have been trying to give fresh momentum to the development of North East along with the development of connectivity. He moreover, said that the present Central Government is also on its toes to complete the pending projects of the previous governments and earmarked projects worth Rs. 12 lakh crore for the purpose.
The Turial Hydroelectric Project inaugurated last year and the Sikkim Airport opened recently were examples of Central Government’s efforts to expedite implementation of development projects, he said. The PM said that timeline is no longer confined to files alone but have taken the form of a reform in the Government. He highly praised the Assam government for embracing this reformative approach and mentioned about projects like construction of new terminal at LGBI Airport, doubling and electrification of railway line, laying of gas pipeline from Guwahati to Tinsukia via Numaligarh, setting up AIIMS and IARI at Dhemaji as testimony of great synergy between the central and state governments. He moreover said that laying of international submarine bandwith for speedy internet connection has been complete upto Tripura and soon it would reach Assam, which would revolutionize digital connectivity in the state.
The PM further said that under Act East Policy, efforts are on to expand connectivity of Assam and NE with the South East Asian countries. He informed that construction of different phases of 800 KM international highway is expeditiously going on, apart from laying of 15 new railway lines or converting 1000 KM railway tracks to broad gauge line in a bid to connect all the capitals of north-eastern states through railways. Stating that during the tenure of previous governments only 100 KM railway tracks were laid every day, the PM mentioned that under the present government, around 350 KM railway tracks are being laid per day. In case of inland water transportation, he informed that steps have been taken to connect the Chittagong and Mongla ports of Bangladesh through Brahmaputra and Barak rivers.
Highlighting the synergy between the central and state governments, which has accelerated pace of implementation of projects and schemes in Assam, the PM said that the Assam Government successfully brought transformation into the lives of people of all strata of life in the state. He informed that under PM Ujjawala scheme 24 lac beneficiaries were provided household gas connection apart from construction of 32 lac sanitary toilets, free-electricity connection to 12 lac families, opening of 7 lac bank accounts of tea garden workers and 1.5 crore bank accounts in general in Assam.
Saying transformation in such a mega scale has become possible due to reformative measures of the governments, he said that during the time of previous governments the poor and the downtrodden hugely suffered due to corruption in the country. The PM said that the central government has waged an unwavering fight against corruption in the country. He informed that the central government has allotted 1.25 crore houses to the poor under PMAY and seized 5000 crore benami properties during last four and a half years of the government. He moreover said that license of 3.15 lakh fake companies have been cancelled, 7 lakh crore loan without any bank guarantee have been disbursed under Mudra Yojana besides bringing back 3 lakh crore to banks from loan defaulters and putting the middleman of helicopter scam of previous government into jail. He further said that through Ayushmaan Bharat scheme, free health services have been provided upto Rs. 5 lakh to the poor and the government is putting all out efforts to weed out corruption from the health care delivery system. Stating that when the system becomes transparent, its effect gets reflected in every sphere of life, the PM mentioned about ace sprinter Hima Das, who has excelled in the fields of sports. He said that sportspersons like her showcases the new confidence of a new India.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal in his speech saidt he Bogibeel Bridge is a bridge of harmony and its opening would not only boost connectivity but also propel economic growth of the region. Sonowal in his speech also recalled the contributions of Swargodeo Chaolung Siu-Ka-Pha, Bir lachit Borphukon, Bir Chilarai, Sati Sadhani, Sati Radhika, Dr. Bhupen Hazarika and Hemanga Biswani and said that their life and works inspired the Assamese people and strengthened harmonious co-existence.
The Chief Minister further underlining the contributions of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee towards development of Assam and North-East asserted that the state government has been working resolutely to establish good governance. He said that Vajpayee’s ideals would continue to inspire the government and lends renewed impetus to the initiatives of the state government. Moreover terming the inauguration of Bogibeel Bridge as a historic day, he thanked the people of Assam for their role in successful completion of the project.
Further highlighting PM Modi’s steps for boosting connectivity in the North-East, he said that the Prime Minister’s abilities and ideals motives the government to work with more commitment and dedication for the growth of the state. He also observed that the Act East policy enunciated by PM Modi opens floodgates of opportunities for the region to develop better linkages with the South East Asia for unleashing remarkable progress in the economic front.