Perhaps the happiest task on Prime rendra Modi’s hectic Friday was dedicating to the tion India’s longest river bridge between Dhola and Sadiya. The 9.15 km long Dhola-Sadiya bridge is about 3.55 km longer than the Bandra-Worli Sea Link in Mumbai that was the longest bridge in India. Not far downstream from where the Dhola-Sadiya bridge is located, the rivers Lohit, Dibang and Siang meet to form the Brahmaputra as we know it. The new bridge, built in about six years at a cost of Rs 950 crore connects Dhola village with Sadiya town. People who live in Assam and Aruchal Pradesh do not see the new bridge as just a concrete-and-steel marvel of present-day engineering skills. Considering the distances and travel times that the bridge will cut, the new bridge will be seen by one and all as a sort of godsend. The bridge has reduced the distance between Assam and Aruchal Pradesh by about 165 km, thereby reducing the travel time between the two States by about five hours. Commuters from Dhola can now reach Sadiya in just an hour. But that is not all that there is to what the new bridge will do for the people. Hitherto, people had to cover the distance between Dhola and Sadiya by ferries and boats, and given the size and the force of the Brahmaputra and its tributaries during the rainy season, the river crossing was by no means a very safe journey during the monsoon. The Dhola-Sadiya bridge will now do away with the hazards of travelling by ferries and boats during the rainy season.
What we often tend to overlook is that people’s mode and speed of travel have a major impact on the very pace of their lifestyle and their ambitions. A person who had to spend six hours travelling between two points (one-way) that had to be traversed quite often, would have had very little time left for other work. When one’s economic activities demanded frequent trips between two such places, the time spent on travel was bound to slow down other activities. It is interesting to muse on what one’s place of residence can do to one’s lifestyle and the very pace of work. A lot of time having to be spent on travel over rivers can have the most unfortute consequences on one’s capacity for work due to what habit and circumstances do to our lifestyles. The very fact that the new bridge will cut one-way travel time between two points by about five hours will leave people much more time for other useful work. At the same time, the travel time saved by the bridge will also compel people to work much faster due to the drastic reduction in travel time (and therefore the newly set deadlines for completion of all kinds of work). This remarkable change in travel time will create challenges to work that people are not used to. But this will do a world of good to the demands they will face to learn to work much faster. This means better incomes and more incomes to many more people. All that is required is that people will have to face the new challenges thrown by the new bridge in terms of more efficient and a faster pace of work. They will now also be in a position to hope for better tomorrows with a changed approach to work. This is what the bridge of hope will undoubtedly achieve.