From our Correspondent
TINSUKIA, May 28: The opening of Bhupen Hazarika Setu over River Lohit not only cherishes the dream of millions people on the northern bank but it will open up new vistas in tourism and corporate sectors. While the bridge will benefit three districts of Aruchal Pradesh immensely- Dibang, Lower Dibang and Lohit, for Sadiya sub-division which comprises 143 villages with population around one lakh, the bridge will not make much difference in their lifestyle other than people of Chapakhowa and its neighbouring areas as vast majority of Sadiya people live in land-locked riverine areas whose only mode of communication has been small boats and dilapidated bridges and will remain so as long as small permanent bridges are not built over numerous rivulets and tributaries of Lohit and Brahmaputra.
There lies some misconception about the location of the bridge, it is on Lohit River and not on the Brahmaputra. Few kilometres down the site of the bridge where Lohit, origited from Tibet, is joined by two other rivers, Dibang origited from Indo-Chi border and Siang (Yarlung Tsangpoo) origited from Tibet and all three giant rivers together formed the magnificent Brahmaputra in Sadiya.
Though the bridge will reduce travel time by several hours, besides having seismic buffer and strong enough to withstand huge armory vehicles, including war tanks, but given the landscape of Aruchal Pradesh and its close proximity to Chi border, it is unlikely to perceive that the stage has been set to take on Chi other than logistic support to the border posts. Anini, the district headquarter of Dibang Valley district, is almost 100 km away from the Chi border and cross over entire stretch of Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary which is dotted with numerous gorges and turbulent rivers, part of which is only accessible from Lohit district. While the other front in Anjaw district, Kibithoo, on the same route of Dong and Walong, the last Indian post which is just 8-9 km from the Chi border with its post at Xiachayuchen, the Lohit River with deep ridges flowing in between is not an easy to rule over.
In his iugural address, Prime Minister stressed the need to harness water resources after being surprised to view sea-like River Brahmaputra from the Bhupen Hazarika Setu. Till recently the NHPC has been facing hurdles in transporting machineries through waterways. It is already envisaged that Aruchal Pradesh has the potential to generate 50,000 MW hydroelectric power and 405 MW already been commissioned. According to NHPC report, in Aruchal Pradesh alone, 5000MW project is in the pipeline apart from 2800 MW stalled project. Besides, the government is contemplating to review the 2008 hydro power policy to boost generation. It is likely that the bridge will add fillip to NHPC projects by transporting huge machinery, including gigantic turbines, to different sites rather than Army’s tank.
However, commenting on the Bhupen Hazarika Setu, Defense PRO stated, “When any such important infrastructural assets like highways, bridges, airstrips, waterways become functiol they open up avenues for economic growth, social prosperity and also greatly enhance the defense potential of the tion. Such progress and development add to faster movement of the forces. Creation of such tiol assets boosts socio-economic growth leading to peace and progress with better integration with mainstream, peace and tranquility and consequently automatic containment of insurgency.” According to Debakanta Borgohain of Kundil Sadiya, the bridge will facilitate faster movement of ailing people many of whom died halfway on the ferry before being given proper medical treatment. Chapakhowa will soon turn into a commercial hub and people from interior areas of Sadiya would flock to Chapakhowa for better employment,” he observed.