Majuli (Assam), Sep 10: Both the Centre and the Assam government are committed to complete a bridge over the Brahmaputra river, connecting Majuli and Jorhat, within four years and are jointly working towards it, Union minister Sarbanand Sonowal said on Friday.
The statement of Sonowal, who was a former chief minister of Assam, came two days after a boat headed to Majuli sank in the river after hitting a ferry steamer near Nimati Ghat in Jorhat district, in which one person died and two others went missing.
“We all want a bridge on the Brahmaputra and both the state and central government have taken necessary steps in this direction so that it is well constructed with the latest technology,” Sonowal told media persons here.
The Union minister for shipping, ports and ayush said he respects the opinion of those who asserted that the boat mishap could have been avoided if the Jorhat-Majuli bridge was there.
The foundation stone of the bridge was laid in 2016 while Prime Minister Narendra Modi performed the Bhumi Pujan earlier this year.
At present, “technical aspects are being examined with both the state and the central governments aiming at completing the project within the next four years”, Sonowal said.
Sonowal was elected from Majuli in 2016 and again in 2021 while he was elected twice as MP from Lakhimpur constituency under which the world’s largest river island is an assembly segment. He became a Union minister in July and is yet to resign as a member of the Assam assembly.
Rejecting allegations from some quarters that he had done politics over the bridge issue, he said, “The people of Majuli have elected me twice as an MLA and also as an MP. I will never do politics with the people of the island as I both respect and revere them.”
The state cabinet on Thursday decided to entrust Finance Minister Ajanta Neog with the responsibility of monitoring the construction of the bridge.
“This indicates the commitment both the Centre and state government has towards the people of Majuli. Steps will be also taken by both the governments to improve the infrastructural facilities at both the Nimatighat and Kamlabari ghat at the earliest,” he added.
The boat collision was a “very tragic and unfortunate incident. I was in Delhi and immediately called up Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to discuss the matter. The prime minister and the Union home minister also assured all help to rescue the passengers,” he said.
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