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Defence Minister opens bridge on the river Sishiri in Arunachal

THE new bridge over Sisseri River, which will be inaugurated by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday during his two-day trip to Arunachal Pradesh, will reduce travel time between Dibang and Siang valleys in the state, sources said here on Thursday.

According to a senior official of the Indian Army, the 200-metre bridge, which will connect Pasi Ghat with Roing, will reduce travel time between the two places by at least five hours.

The bridge built by Border Roads Organisation (BRO) falls along the road that is being constructed by the Union government under the Trans-Arunachal Highway project.

“The road will be extremely beneficial for local transportation. Earlier, the locals had to trudge several miles to reach Pasi Ghat from Roing or vice versa. With the new bridge, travel time between the two places will be cut by more than five hours,” said the official.

The bridge, engineered by the BRO, is a double-carriageway structure with four spans of 50-metre each.

“The bridge is an important link in the Trans-Arunachal Highway that is being built from Tawang at the extreme end of Arunachal Pradesh to Kanubari. The Sisseri Bridge will help travelling to the Dhola-Sadiya Bridge through which commuters can reach Tinsukia district in Assam,” said the official.

The Dhola-Sadiya Bridge, named after popular Assamese singer and filmmaker Bhupen Hazarika, is the first road connection between Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. It was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2017.

The Trans-Arunachal Highway being constructed by the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways spans a total length of over 1,500 km. The project, though launched by the erstwhile United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, has been pursued aggressively by the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) since 2015.

The highway project is expected to boost tourism in Arunachal Pradesh besides giving impetus to the under-developed industrial sector in the northeastern state.

Rajnath Singh reached Arunachal Pradesh on Thursday where he was received by the state’s Chief Minister Pema Khandu.

A Defence Ministry official said that Rajnath Singh visited the Tawang War Memorial and Tawang Monastery on the first day of his two-day trip. He also attended the Maitree Diwas celebrations, a multi-cultural social event, held in the Gyalwa Tsangyang Gyatso high altitude stadium in Tawang as the chief guest of the event.

On Friday, Rajnath will visit India’s forward post at Bum La near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China, apart from inaugurating the bridge.

In October, Rajnath had inaugurated another bridge of the BRO that has been built across the Shyok River in Ladakh. The Shyokm River bridge, named after a valiant soldier of Ladakh, Colonel Chewang Rinchen, has been built to allow ease of troop movement to the Daulat Beg Oldi sector, located near the LAC along China’s Xinjiang province, where a 21-day military standoff had taken place between India and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.