Debate over Bogibeel bridge’s name
A debate over the naming of Bogibeel bridge continues weeks before its inauguration by Prime minister Narendra Modi on December 25. The indigenous organisations of Assam are demanding that the bridge be named after their preferred personalities.
The All Assam Chutia Students’ Union (AACSU) has recently demanded that the bridge be named after Chutia dynasty queen Sati Sadhani. The union threatened that 100 youths of the community would jump into the Brahmaputra from the Bogibeel bridge on the day of its inauguration if the government did not name it after Sati Sadhani.
The Dibrugarh district unit of the All Assam Ahom Sabha has demanded that the bridge be named after founder of the erstwhile Ahom kingdom Chaolung Siu-ka-pha.
In a memorandum to Modi, the organisation stated that the bridge should be named after Siu-ka-pha, “the founder of bor Axom (greater Assam) and Axomiya society”.
Describing Siu-ka-pha as the epitome of India’s historical links with Southeast Asia, the statement says: “It would be significant to leverage this linkage towards realisation of the objectives of India’s Act East policy’’.
Modi will inaugurate the longest rail-cum-road bridge on December 25, the birth anniversary of late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
A section of BJP leaders, including Dibrugarh MLA Prasanta Phukan, are in favour of naming the bridge “Atal Setu”.
Recently, leader of the banned Ulfa (I) Paresh Barua said the bridge should be named after Bishnu Prasad Rabha and Jyoti Prasad Agarwala, two eminent personalities from Assam, as Bishnu-Jyoti Bridge.
Speaking to a local news channel, Barua said Assam should support the idea and India’s longest rail-cum-road bridge should be named after literary luminaries of Assam.
Talking to this correspondent, AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi said: “Bogibeel bridge should be named after eminent personalities of Assam. We have lots of legendary figures in Assam; so we urge the government to immediately sort out the issue and name the bridge after the legendary figures of Assam without hurting the sentiments of any community.”
Everybody is eagerly awaiting the inauguration of the bridge because it will ease a communication bottleneck of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. The project cost has escalated from Rs 1,767 crore to Rs 5,800 crore, given multiple deadline revisions. The multi-crore rupee bridge has earned the unflattering tag of the slowest moving infrastructure project of the region.
According to residents of Dibrugarh, the name should be “Bogibeel bridge”.
“We have waited for 17 years for the completion of the bridge. The name should not change,” Ananta Mohan, a local resident of Dibrugarh, said.
Nabajyoti Borkakoti, a social activist of Dibrugarh, said the bridge should be named after Dr John Berry White, “an Assamese by heart and a doyen of industrial development, rail and road communication in erstwhile Assam.”