Bengaluru: Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda said on Wednesday that he was least bothered about not being invited for the inauguration of India’s longest rail-road Bogibeel Bridge in Assam, the foundation stone of which was laid by him in 1997.
“The foundation stone of Bogibeel Bridge in Assam was laid during my tenure but it took 21 years to be completed. What can I do? I am least bothered about not being invited for the inauguration. The people of the area will recognise my contribution,” the former Prime Minister told ANI.
Deve Gowda’s statement came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the bridge that will drastically reduce the journey time between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
Prime Minister Modi had said that delays in infrastructure development have adversely impacted the country’s development trajectory.
The 4.94 km-long Bogibeel Bridge, a combined road and rail bridge over the Brahmaputra river, will reduce the distance between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh by 170 kilometers.
The inauguration coincided with the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
“About 16 years ago, Atal Ji came here. He had a vision for the development of the Bogibeel Bridge. This bridge is also a tribute to his vision,” the Prime Minister said.
“When Vajpayee government lost power in 2004, several key infrastructure projects of his era were not completed,” said Prime Minister Modi.
“Things have changed after May 2014 when topmost priority is being accorded to key projects. Delayed infra projects were adversely impacting India’s development trajectory. When we assumed office, we added speed to these projects and worked towards their quick completion,” he said.
The Prime Minister noted that while only three bridges were built over the Brahmaputra River in 60-70 years ago, three more have been completed in last four-and-half years alone. Another five, he said, are in progress.
Besides infrastructure, the Prime Minister also mentioned several initiatives such as Ujjwala and Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, which have seen rapid progress in Assam.
Describing the bridge as a “marvel of engineering and technology”, he emphasised that it is of immense strategic significance and reduces distances between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
“It would greatly enhance ‘ease of living’ in this region,” said Prime Minister Modi.
“This bridge had been a dream for the people of this region for generations
and is now a reality. Dibrugarh is an important centre of healthcare, education and commerce in the region, and the people living north of the Brahmaputra, can now access this city, more conveniently” he said.
He recalled that in May 2017, he had also dedicated the country’s longest road bridge, the Bhupen Hazarika Bridge at Sadia in Assam, to the nation.
He said this enhanced connectivity between the northern and southern banks of the Brahmaputra, is an element of good governance and this pace of development will transform the North-East. He said the infrastructure in the country is growing at a rapid pace.
The Prime Minister complimented the State Government of Assam for its efforts towards completing pending projects.