By Bhupen Goswami
Guwahati : Since long, BJP leaders including Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and BJP National President J P Nadda have been repeatedly announcing that the Central government will address the flood problems of Assam by major mining of brahmaputra river and will strive to connect South East Asian nations through north-east India by constructing more than 2000 km of express highways along the Brahmaputra. But now the BJP’s big lie in the Rajya Sabha is coming out. There is no government plan to construct any express highway along the Brahmaputra River in Assam. All the people of Assam are getting frustrated and angry about it. No proposal for Express highway, Brahmaputra, Nitin Gadkari in Rajya Sabha said. Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari today informed that there is no proposal to construct highways on both sides of brahmaputra river after the river sinks. The Minister said this in a written reply to a question by Assam Rajya Sabha MP Ajit Kumar Bhuyan regarding construction of highways on both sides of the river.
Questioning the BJP’s promise to construct express highways, Assam MP Bhuyan said in a question to the minister that the BJP had announced a year ago that it would dig the Brahmaputra and build express highways on both sides. Has the express highway already been completed?
In a written reply to the questions, Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari has said that there is no government plan to construct an express highway along the Brahmaputra River in Assam. “For seamless navigation of ships, dredging work is carried out mainly on the basis of the requirement between October and March, where the width and depth of the navigation channel is less than the targeted depth available,” Gadkari said. Gadkari further informed that the Inland Waterways Authority of India, an autonomous body under the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, undertakes dredging for shipping and navigation on National Waterway-2 (Brahmaputra). Also, There. On enquiries about the construction of a bridge over brahmaputra connecting Majuli and Jorhat in Assam, Gadkari said that an amount of Rs. 925 crore has been sanctioned for which bids have been received. It should be mentioned here that earlier in 2017, the Union Minister had said during the valedictory function of Namami Brahmaputra that the first express highway project in the North Eastern Region will be developed along the Brahmaputra River at an estimated investment of Rs 2000 crore. said that the centre will carry out dredging work and the soil coming from the dredging of Brahmaputra would be used for road construction. A tripartite agreement was also signed between government of Assam, National Highways Authority of India and Inland Waterways of India for dredging and construction of express highways in Assam.
Where was Gadkari himself delivering a speech at a public meeting in Guwahati, Assam in 2017, where the first highway project in north east region will be built near the Brahmaputra River in Assam and will cost about Rs 40,000 crore. This will become the first Express highway project along the Brahmaputra in Assam. 40,000 crore will be invested in the 1300 km long expressway. Gadkari had further said that there will be axis control on the express highway, which will enable trains to run at high speeds. The centre had talked about increasing the navigational channel in the Brahmaputra River from The Sadia in Upper Assam to Chittagong in Bangladesh. Now, proving to be lying to his words, the Rajya Sabha said that it will not be an express highway and there is no proposal from the government. The BJP government and the leaders are breaking the trust of the people of the north-east. People say it will be very costly for the BJP in the forthcoming Assam assembly elections. People say union Minister Gadkari’s own promise has proved to be false. It will have to pay a big price to the BJP government in Assam.