GUWAHATI: Before the Central Government approved the construction of an underwater tunnel in the Brahmaputra in Assam, a man thought of it, conducted two surveys and submitted a proposal to the Government for an underwater tunnel.
The tunnel is to connect Misa in the Nagaon district with Tezpur in the Sonitpur district.
Dr Shyam Sunder Porwal, then Additional Director General of Eastern Zone of Border Roads Organization), claimed that he was the first to think of an underwater tunnel in the Brahmaputra way back in 2014.
In 2014, Dr Porwal thought that the tunnel would be of strategic importance as it would provide round the year connectivity between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
In 2020, the Centre agreed in principle to construct the tunnel. According to official reports, it will help vehicles to operate at a speed of 80 kmph.
The proposed tunnel is of strategic importance as there are possibilities for China to destroy the three bridges— Brahmaputra-Kalaiabhomora, Dibrugarh-Bogibeel and Dola-Sadiya Bridge.
"I thought about this idea in 2014 as surface bridges are always at very high risk," Dr Porwal said
"The broader concept was conceived. The rest are classified," he said.
In 2016, the BRO surveyed the construction of an underwater tunnel from Misa to Tezpur.
A team of experts conducted this survey for the construction of a tunnel from Gohpur to Numaligarh also.
Dr Porwal stated in his report that the underwater tunnel is possible in both places. It was accepted by the Ministry of Environment now," he said.
Porwal said, "I am retired and do not have any official capacity to make comments from my side."
Porwal also said, "I wish that it comes as fast as possible."
Now the dream of Dr Porwal is going to be fulfilled as the Centre okayed the project. Dr Porwal retired in 2017.
The report also said that the tunnel would be longer than the underwater tunnel being built by China below the Taihu Lake in Jiangsu province.
The tunnel has two different capsules (Tube) for seamless movement of traffic from both sides.