New Delhi: Janata Dal-Secular JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda, who had laid the foundation stone of the Bogibeel Bridge during his tenure, expressed disappointment at not being invited for the inauguration of the country’s longest railroad bridge in Assam.
“Railway line to Kashmir, Delhi Metro and Bogibeel railroad bridge were among the projects I had sanctioned (as prime minister). I had sanctioned the budget of Rs 100 crore for each of these projects and laid their foundation stones. People have forgotten today,” Gowda said.
To a question whether he received an invitation, Gowda quipped, “Aiyo Rama! Who will remember me? Some newspapers might have mentioned it.”
On the enormous delay in completing the project, he said, “That is where I differ. I completed the Hassan-Mysuru project in 13 months. I completed two bridges on time. Anganwadi bridge (across Ghataprabha). Go and see the bridge on Krishna river. Some people from Bombay Karnataka region say Deve Gowda did not do anything (for the north Karnataka region), go and see it.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 4.9-km-long bridge at Bogibeel across Brahmaputra River, built at a cost of Rs 5,900 crore. The foundation stone for the project was laid by Gowda when he was the prime minister in 1997.
“In 70 years, only three bridges (over the Brahmaputra) were built by the previous government. But in four-and-half years of our government, work on three more bridges have begun to improve connectivity. This is good governance,” PM Modi said.
Terming Bogibeel Bridge the lifeline of crores of people in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, PM Modi said it will cut the distance between the two states to below 200 km from 700 km now while reducing travel time to five to six hours from 24 hours earlier.
The prime minister said the country’s only fully steel-made bridge will strengthen India’s defence prowess.
He also flagged off the Tinsukia-Naharlagun Intercity Express saying it will help people get shorter connectivity to Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai.
The 14-coach train will run five days a week and use the 4.9-km bridge to cut down the train-travel time between Tinsukia in Assam to Naharlagun town of Arunachal Pradesh by more than 10 hours.
PM Modi said around 5,500 km of national highways were being constructed in the northeast for Rs 70,000 crore, while work on around 2,500 km has been completed. He said that every state capital in the northeast will be connected by broad-gauge lines.
“We are investing Rs 46,000 crore to lay 15 new lines. Earlier, only 100 km of rail lines were constructed annually. But now it has reached to 350 km per year in the last four-and-half years… Also, 19 waterways are being developed on the Brahmaputra and Barak rivers,” PM Modi said.