GUWAHATI: One person was killed in a blast at an oil pipeline at Dikom in Dibrugarh district on Thursday on the eve of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Assam.
Though the Paresh Baruah faction of banned United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) has claimed responsibility for the blast, the police have ruled out the involvement of militants and said the blast could have taken place due to pressure in the pipeline. The banned outfit has even claimed that the deceased was a member of their group.
“We suspect that the explosion took place due to pressure in the oil pipeline. We have not got any evidence suggesting the involvement of militants in the incident. We are investigating,” special director general of police, Kula Saikia, said.
During his day-long stay on Friday, Modi will inaugurate the 9.15-km Dhola-Sadiya bridge over Brahmaputra, which is the longest bridge in India and the second longest in Asia, in Tinsukia district. Tinsukia is a neighbouring district of Dibrugarh, where the explosion occurred.
After opening the bridge, the PM will visit Gogamukh in Dhemaji district to lay the foundation stone of an agricultural research institute. He will then fly to Guwahati where he will lay the foundation stone of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Changsari on the outskirts of the state capital. He will also address a public rally to celebrate the completion of three years of NDA government and one year of BJP-led Assam government before flying back to New Delhi.
The construction of the Dhola-Sadiya bridge had begun in 2011 when the Congress was in power in Assam as well as at the Centre. The bridge is located less than 100km away from the India-China border. It is capable of withstanding a 60-tonne battle tank. Once the bridge is opened, it will cut the transit time of army personnel to the Anini side of the border in Arunachal Pradesh by over one-and-a-half days.
The Opposition Congress, in the meantime, has planned to go to people across the state from May 28, and highlight the Modi government’s “betrayal”. “The Modi government has taken several U-turns on issues pertaining to Assam. So, we have published a booklet containing those and we will distribute it to people,” Pradesh Congress spokesman Rituporno Konwar told The New Indian Express.