Guwahati, May 18: The security of India’s longest and Asia’s second longest river bridge, the Dhola-Sadiya bridge which is yet to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 26 is likely to change from the hands of the Assam Government to the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) after a recent proposal sent by the Assam government to the Union ministry of road transport and highways.
The public works department (NH works) of Assam submitted the final shape to the proposal is estimated at Rs 39.88 crore Assam, on the basis of requirements provided by the home department.
Executive engineer of PWD (NH works), Assam, Jatin Nath, said, “A joint survey was conducted with officials of Assam police, CISF, PWD (NH works), Assam and project manager of Navyuga Engineering Company Limited.”
According to the survey; “at any point of time over 200 armed personnel, in one shift, will be required to safeguard the bridge,” said Nath. “Hence, the proposal to house one battalion of the CISF on almost 30 bighas of land on the north bank of Dhola-Sadiya bridge was prepared.”
Nath said the proposal accommodated the requirements of the central force, including construction of barracks, offices, quarters, parade ground and a trauma centre. “It also included other needs of the CISF to safeguard the bridge like night-vision goggles, CCTVs, control room, motor boats, drones and vehicles.” Every 200 metres, a mobile checkpost will be set up while there will be permanent checkposts at both the ends, Nath added.
Regional officer of the ministry, Paban Kumar, told The Telegraph that there was another proposal mooted to light up the entire 9.16-km bridge for security purposes. “Safety aspects for commuters, including highway patrol, display of emergency numbers at regular gap were also taken up,” Kumar added.
According to sources, the proposal for lighting runs into Rs 30 crore and is yet to be approved by the Centre. Highly placed sources in the government said Dhola-Sadiya bridge is a strategic asset and its security is a matter of concern. Dhola and Sadiya, being militant-infested area, has made it more vulnerable.
On the instruction of chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, a few meetings were held in Dispur between the home department and PWD on the security of the bridge and this proposal was submitted. At present, the security of the bridge rests with the Assam police until the time the Centre clears the decks for handing the security cover to the CISF.
The opening of the bridge, less than 100km from the Sino-Indian border, will reduce movement of army troops to the Anini side of the border by over one-and-a-half days, becoming game-changer for the army on this front in times of war. Anini, the last district headquarters in Dibang Valley of Arunachal Pradesh, is on the easternmost border between India and China.
TNT News with inputs from The Telegraph
Image Source: YouTube