The news of approval for construction of an underwater tunnel in the Brahmaputra river by the Central government connecting Gohpur in northern side of the river to Numaligarh in the southern side connecting NH 54 (Gohpur) and NH37 (Numaligarh) has received a mixed reaction in Assam. The four-lane tunnel will be of a length of 14.85 km with all safety precautions incorporated in it. The reason the people of the State are not taking the announcement seriously is that, many such projects were already announced by the Central government has not yet started. Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari laid the foundation stone for a bridge over the Brahmaputra connecting Jorhat with Majuli on February 27, 2016 prior to the Assembly election of Assam. However, even after four-and-a-half years of laying the foundation stone, the basic process for construction of the bridge has not started. People of Assam are now thinking that the foundation stone-laying was just an election promise which seldom materialise. The reason for the people of the State not taking the construction of the tunnel as announced may be another election promise as the Assembly election in the State is nearing. Lots of satirical comments are viral on the subject in the social media.
However, there are strong reasons to believe that the construction of the tunnel will commence as it is of strategic importance considering movement of heavy army vehicles at high speed and safe for any air attack by the enemy than a bridge. Secondly, the NH 37 was diverted at Kaliabor in Nagaon district to avoid crossing of the four-lane highway through the Kaziranga National Park. It was planned to divert the NH-37 by crossing the mighty Brahmaputra near Kaliabhomora and again crossing the Brahmaputra at Gohpur and connecting Numaligarh with the existing NH-37. For connecting Gahpur to Numaligarh a bridge is already sanctioned in the four-lane work of the Nagoan-Tinsukia portion, and now the proposal is just to replace the bridge by a tunnel. If China can construct a tunnel we are also not lagging behind in technology to construct a tunnel in the river Brahmaputra.