Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually launched several connectivity projects costing Rs 15,000 cr in Assam on Thursday. He said that these projects would not only boost trade, economy and industrialisation but also open a new chapter for the tourism industry in the northeastern region.
The Prime Minister said that the projects would make connectivity and transportation easier among West Bengal, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura along with Bangladesh and Bhutan.
The Rs 3,231-crore Mahabahu-Brahmaputra project includes the Ro-Pax vessel operations between Neamati-Majuli Island, North Guwahati-South Guwahati and Dhubri-Hatsingimari, construction of Inland Water Transport (IWT) Terminal at Jogighopa (in Bongaigaon district) and various tourist jetties on the Brahmaputra river and launch of digital solutions for ease-of-doing-business.
The project is aimed at providing seamless connectivity to the eastern parts of India and includes various development activities for the people living around Brahmaputra and Barak rivers in southern Assam.
The Ro-Pax operation between Neamati and Majuli will reduce the total distance of 420 km currently being travelled by vehicles to only 12 km, resulting in a substantial impact on the logistics of small-scale industries of the region. Two indigenously procured Ro-Pax vessels — M.V. Rani Gaidinliu and M.V. Sachin Dev Burman — will become operational.
Introduction of Ro-Pax vessel M.V. J.F.R. Jacob between North and South Guwahati will reduce travelling distance of around 40 km to a mere 3 km. Introduction of M.V. Bob Khathing between Dhubri and Hatsingimari will reduce travelling distance of 220 km to 28 km, thus resulting in a huge saving of travel distance and time.
The Mahabahu-Brahmaputra project also includes construction of tourist jetties at four locations, — Neamati, Biswanath Ghat, Pandu and Jogighopa — with financial assistance of Rs 9.41 crore from the Union Tourism Ministry. These jetties will promote river cruise tourism, generate local employment and growth for local businesses.
A permanent IWT terminal will also be built at Jogighopa which will connect with the Multi-Modal Logistics Park coming up at Jogighopa in Bongaigaon district.
This Terminal will help in reducing the traffic on the existing Siliguri Corridor towards Kolkata and Haldia. It will also facilitate the uninterrupted movement of cargo even during the flood season to various northeastern states like Meghalaya and Tripura and to Bhutan and Bangladesh as well.
The Prime Minister also launched two e-portals to further Ease of Doing Business. The Car-D (Cargo Data) portal will collate cargo and cruise data on a real time basis. PANI (Portal for Asset and Navigation Information) will act as a one-stop solution for providing information about river navigation and infrastructure. He also laid the foundation stone of the Rs 350 crore North East Data Centre at Guwahati.
The PM laid the foundation stone for the country’s longest 19 km-long Dhubri-Phulbari river bridge over the Brahmaputra river.
The Rs 5,000 crore bridge, located on National Highway 127B, would connect Dhubri (on North Bank) with Phulbari (on South Bank) originating from Srirampur on NH-27 (East-West Corridor) and terminating at Nongstoin on NH-106 in Meghalaya.
The bridge will connect Dhubri in Assam to Phulbari along with Tura, Rongram and Rongjeng in Meghalaya reducing the distance of 205 km and will meet the long-standing demand of the people from Assam and Meghalaya who were depending on ferry services to travel between the two banks of the Brahmaputra river.
The Prime Minister performed the Bhumi Pujan for the two-lane Majuli bridge on the Brahmaputra between Majuli (North Bank) and Jorhat (South Bank).
The 8-km long bridge will be located on NH-715K and will connect Neematighat (on Jorhat side) and Kamalabari (on Majuli side).