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India’s longest bridge is reason for festival in Assam

Organisers hope to cash in on the large volume of traffic in the winter and get the government’s recognition to pitch the festival as an official event.

india Updated: Nov 26, 2017 18:32 IST
Rahul Karmakar
Rahul Karmakar
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
Assam,Sadiya Festival,Dhola-Sadiya bridge
the Sadiya Festival began on Sunday on a sandbank below the Dhola-Sadiya bridge. (Photo:Nizarapara Youth Club )

You just need a reason to celebrate. In the case of Assam’s easternmost town, it’s a bridge.

The Dr Bhupen Hazarika Setu or Dhola-Sadiya bridge, India’s longest at 9.15 km, has inspired the Sadiya Festival that began Sunday. The venue is on the sandbank below the bridge that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated in May.

A local youth club in Sadiya, about 550km east of Guwahati, has organised the festival on the banks of river Lohit that the bridge spans.

“The bridge is more than just a structure. It connects Bhupenda’s (Hazarika) birthplace to the country beyond besides bridging the gap between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh adjacent to Sadiya. This is more than a reason for us to celebrate,” Abhijit Koch of Nizarapara Youth Club and the chief organiser of the festival told HT.

The club expects to run the festival through the winter months when people go for outings.

“Every day, 10-12,000 vehicles cross the bridge but there is hardly any facility for people to take a break. We have made arrangements so that people can get off the approach of the bridge, have fun with recreational activities and ethnic food, and carry on to their destinations,” Koch said.

Koch said the festival is the outcome of community effort, but the club hopes the government will eventually recognise it as an official annual event. To drive home the point, the club got local BJP legislator Bolin Chetia to inaugurate the festival.

The festival has packaged a range of adventure sports such as parasailing and dirt bike racing besides campfires and other usual fares.

The Dhola-Sadiya bridge, strategic from the defence point of view, is earthquake-proof and has been designed to withstand the weight a 60-tonne battle tank.

First Published: Nov 26, 2017 18:32 IST