Bhupen Hazarika Setu (or Dhola–Sadiya Bridge) has given a significant boost to connectivity between Arunachal Pradesh and Assam hence an important tactical asset in ongoing tussle along LAC between India and China.
The Bhupen Hazarika Setu is a beam bridge in India. It connects the northeast states of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. The bridge is the first permanent road connection between the northern Assam and eastern Arunachal Pradesh that reduced travel time from 6 hrs to 1 hr.
The bridge spans the Lohit River, a major tributary of the Brahmaputra River, from the village of Dhola (Tinsukia District) in the south to Sadiya to the north (hence also referred to as the Dhola–Sadiya Bridge).
At 9.15 kilometres (5.69 mi) in length, it is the longest bridge in India over water. It is 3.55 kilometres (2.21 mi) longer than the Bandra Worli Sea Link in Mumbai, making it the longest bridge in India.
With rapid movement of India’s defence assets in mind following incursions by the Chinese Army, the Dhola–Sadiya Bridge has been designed to handle the weight of 60-tonne (130,000-pound) tanks such as the Indian Army’s Arjun and T-72 main battle tanks. Since the Sino-Indian War, China has disputed India’s claim to Arunachal Pradesh, politically and militarily, along the Line of Actual Control, making the bridge an important tactical asset in the ongoing dispute.
The bridge was approved for construction in 2009. Construction began in November 2011 as a public-private partnership with Navayuga Engineering Company, with an expected completion in 2015. However, due to construction delays and cost increases, the bridge’s completion date was pushed into 2017. The project cost around ₹1,000 crore (equivalent to ₹12 billion or US$156 million in 2020) and construction took over five years to complete.
The bridge was inaugurated on 26 May 2017 by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nitin Gadkari (Minister of Road Transport and Highways).
The bridge is named after Bhupen Hazarika an artist and filmmaker from Assam.