Union finance minister inspects construction works of six-lane Brahmaputra bridge

Assam

Guwahati: Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman along with State chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday made a
joint-inspection of construction works for the six-lane extra dosed bridge over the mighty river Brahmaputra, connecting the city with
North Guwahati, near Sonaram high-school field and reviewed its progress. The 8.4 kilo-meter (KM) long river bridge will be the first of its kind in northeast Bharat is being executed by State PWD (roads) with a project cost of rupees 2608 crore. Once completed, the bridge will significantly ease out traffic
congestion and help in expanding the city towards north bank of the holy river. Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the bridge
on 9 February 2019 and it is expected to be complete by August 2023. The iconic bridge overviewing the Kamakhya temple atop Nilachal hills
and also the Umananda temple island will reduce the travel time between Guwahati and North Guwahati drastically making a smooth and
safe movement of commuters. The visiting finance minister Sitharaman also performed Bhoomi Pujan for a 120 megawatt (MW) hydroelectric power plant at Longku area of Dima Hasao district in central Assam. This run-of-the-river project over Kopili stream is expected to be completed by 2024. CM Sarma claimed that the
APGCL’s lower Kopili hydroelectric project would add to Assam’s power generation capacity visibly. Mentionable is that the Union government signed a $231 million ADB
loan in December 2020 to boost electricity generation capacity in Assam and the initiative is expected to increase clean electricity
supply by 469 gigawatt hour (GWh) within 2025 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3,60,000 tons of carbon-dioxide annually.
“Affordable and clean electricity generated through the project will greatly improve quality of living, promote businesses and increase
employment opportunities in the State,” he stated urging the L&T authority to complete the project strictly within its schedule of June
2024. Thanking PM Modi and Union finance minister for helping Assam with externally aided projects, Sarma revealed that rupees 1700 crore (out
of total project cost rupees 2200 crore) has been provided by the Centre and its earnings would be utilised for development activities
of the hills district. Ms Sitharaman also laid the foundation stone of improvement and upgradation work of 90 kilo meter (KM) road from Haflong Tinali to
Lower Haflong. The ADB aided Assam road network improvement project aims to enhance the road transportation in the State by assisting the
PWD to build sustainable and resilient infrastructures. The State government launched its flagship program Asom Mala
initiative to improve the State highways and major district roads network with funding from multiple sources. The concerned project is
designed to improve and upgrade about 313 km roads. Moreover, all these projects will result in better road infrastructure in Haflong,
Umrangso and other parts of the district.

by Nava J. Thakuria

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