Transport & Communication

Assam being the gateway of the North East India, the need for development of transport and communication sector in the State is of vital importance for speedy economic development of the region. Due to its geographical isolation, transport has been a major bottleneck in the process of economic progress of the State. The State although served by all the modern means of transport viz.; roads, railways, wa-terways and airways, there is enough scope for further im-provement of the facilities.

 • Roads The principal function of the Public Works Department (PWD) is to develop the infrastructure for transport & com-munication of the State and residential & non-residential accommodation facility in the State. The Assam PWD (Roads wing) is chiefly responsible for improvement of road communication through construction and mainte-nance of roads, bridges and culverts for speedy develop-ment of the State. The road network in Assam comprises of total 58202 km of roads consisting of 3862.54 km National Highways,

Road Network in Assam (in Km)-   

SI. No.                   Item                                      2013-14                                2014-15                2015-16

1.                            Surfaced Road*                23747                                    23948                        25546

2.                            Un-surfaced Road           21753                                    20914                        19316

3.                            National Highway             3069                                       3835                           3863

4. State Highway                          3134                                       2530                           2530 

5. Major District Road                                     4413                                       4379                           4379  

6.Rural Road                                                       36544                                    36544                        36544

7. Urban Road                                                   2496                                       1409                             1409

* Execluding National Highways- 2530 km State Highways, 4379 km Major District Roads, 1409 km Urban Roads, 36544 km Rural Roads and the rest are Panchayats and other Non-PWD Roads. Presence of large number of submersible stretches and existence of large num-ber of semi-permanent timber bridges have hampered all weather road communication on many of the roads in the State. Moreover, considerable portion of the maintenance fund has to be spent on maintenance of these bridges which hinder the interest of speedy development. To maintain smooth road communication, the State PWD has started conversion of such semi-permanent timber bridges in phased manner as well as continues construction of new RCC bridges on miss-ing links in the State.

Longest Bridge of India -Dr. Bhupen Hazarika Setu (Dhola-Sadiya Bridge)

On May 26, 2017 Prime Minister Narendra Modi inagurates the country’s longest river bridge — the 9.15 km—long Dhola-Sadiya bridge over the Lohit. The bridge is now known as ‘Dr. Bhupen Hazarika Setu’. The Bridge connects Dhola and Saiya upto Islampur (NH 37 extension). The Bridge will also reduce travel time between Arunachal Pradesh and Assam upto four hours. The construction of the bridge began in 2011. The bridge is built at a cost of over Rs. 2,000 crore and is also considered to be very decisive from the strategic point of view. Sadiya is situated 540 km east of Guwahati and the other end of the bridge, Dhola is situated 300 km from Itanagar, the capital of Arunachal Pradesh. Lohit, Dibang and Siang are the three rivers that meet to form the Brahmaputra downstream of the site of the bridge, that connects Dhola and Sadiya.

The rapid increase of the number of motor vehicles on road in Assam has been observed over the past few years. The on road vehicle population in the State has reached 2666589 as on March 2016 as against 2384576 as on March 2015. An additional of 282013 or 11.80 per cent on road motor vehicles was added during the year 2015-16 over 2014-15. Out of the total 2666589 motor vehicles during on road about 61.20 per cent vehicles were two wheelers. -T he total number of Motor vehicle on road iii the State was recorded about 11.80 percent growth as on March 2016 compared to 20.10 per cent growth as on March 2015 (2384576) which shows decline trend. The density of motor vehicle in Assam was 34.90 per sq km during the the year 2015-16 as against 30.40 vehicles per sq km during the year 2014-15. During the year 2000-01, density of motor vehicles in Assam-was only 6.80 per sq km. The collection of transport revenue by the Department of Transport during the year 2015-16 was Rs. 453.93 crore as against 378.98 crore in 2014-15. The collection of trans-port revenue during the year 2015-16 was 19.70 per cent more than that of 2014-15.

Number of Motor Vehicle Registered and Vehicle on-Road

Year No of Motor Vehicle Registered       No. of Registered Motor Vehicle per   No. of Motor Vehicle on Road No of Motor Vehicle on Road per • 100 sq km Lakh of Population 100 sq km Lakh of Population 2008-09 119126 152 402 1180177 1504 3979 2009-10 241247 308 803 1320867 1684 4397 2010-11 199076 253 655 1363625 1738 4484 2011-12 226010 288 725 1528269 1948 4903 2012-13 227367 290 729 1725222 2199 5528 2013-14 249564 318 799 1984880 2530 6360 2014-15 267900 341 858 2384576 3040 7641 2015-16 290874 370 932 2666589 3400 8545

• Assam State Transport Corporation The Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC), a State Government undertaking, is mainly concerned with the move-ment of passenger traffic on the nationalised routes of the State, while the private sector road transport operators are involved in the inter-state movement of both goods and pas-senger traffic throughout the State. As a step towards im-provement of passenger Jinenities the State Government has already constructed three Inter-State Bus Terminus (ISBT) at Guwahati, Jorhat mid the other at Silchar to facili-tate Inter-State transportion of passengers. Inter-State Bus Terminuses have been constructed at Dibrugarh and Sivasagar by the ASTC with all modern facilities for passen-gers and bus operators The ASTC has also set up (I nuliistory car parking build-ing at Guwahati to easeou. s, I i()1, t (1q( of car parking space within the Paltanbazar area. According to ‘Economic Survey, Assam’ (2016-17) the Corporation operates 668 buses of its own and as many as 1,009 private buses are plying under ASTC banner. The revenue earning of ASTC has increased from Rs. 997.49 lakh in 2000-01 to Rs. 3618.12 lakh in 2015-16.

• Railways- The railway route length in Assam at the end of 2014-15 was 2471.18 km comprising’ of 2091.87 km under Broad Gauge and 379.31 km Metre Gauge compared to was total railway route length of 2458.93 km comprising of 1470.06 km.under Broad gauge and 988.87 km Metre Gauge in 2013-14. The proportion of Board Gauge railway route length in the State, although, is 84.65 per cent, it shares only 2.63 percent of the country’s total Broad Gauge railway route length. Taking into account of 65,000 km (March 2015) the total railway route length of for the country as a whole, Assam shares only 3.8 percent of the total railway route length of the country till the end of March 2015. The Ministry of Railways has undertaken various developmental activities in the Railway Sector in the State including extension of railways line to link the other States of North-Eastern States Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, and Mizoram through Assam. Among the ongoing railway projects, Bogibeel rail cum Road Bridge is under progress and gauge conversion of Lumding-Silchar-Jiribum has been completed. Badarpur to Baraigram-Kumarghat, Rangia-Murkongselek projects are declared as national projects and the works are on progress. The construction new Broad Gauge lines connecting Harmuti (Assam) and Naharlagun (Arunachal Pradesh) is also completed. New Mainaguri to Jogighopa (257 km) is under progress. The Bogibeel rail-cum-road bridge, which’ will perhaps be the longest railway bridge in the country and the fourth bridge across the Brahmaputra River is under construction and targeted to be completed by 2017. The rail link connecting north and south bank across the Bridge is also under various stages of completion. The Moranhat- Chawlkhowa (44 km) rail link on south bank of Bogibeel Project commissioned on. 8-12-2009 and handed over to open line on 29-01-2010. • Air Transport Assam is well connected with the rest of the country through Air Transport. The State has the highest numbers of operational civil airports and these are located at Guwahati, Tezpur, Jorhat, Dibrugarh, North Lakhimpur and Silchar. All major airlines including private commercial airlines viz., Indian Airlines, JetLite, AirAsia, Spice jet, Go-air etc. operate regular flights to and from Guwahati. There are regular intra-state air services also connecting aforementioned airports of the State. In addition to these civil airports, small private airstrips in the interior areas are present in large numbers.

Air Transport Statistics of Assam

Item/Year 2010-11* 2011-12* 2012-13* 2013-14* 2014-15* 2015-16 Air Traffic Movement (No.) 34649     35022   33535 29426 30363 24392 Passenger Handled (No.) 2326142 2685871 2526434 2442613 2552861 3103961 Average No. of Flight per day 95 96 92 81 83 67 Average No. passenger Handled per day 6373 7359 6922 6692 6994 8504

In Guwahati sector movement of air traffic as well as imssenger traffic (both domestic and international) has been rapidly increasing during the last six years. The Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi Internatinal Airport, Guwahati is the only International Airport in the North-East India. • Inland Water Transport Assam is a riverine State. As much as 32 percent of the water resource of the country flow down through the river Brahmaputra, Barak and their myriad tributaries weaves a vast network of waterways in the State. The Brahmaputra has 891 km navigable length of waterways from Sadiya to Dhubri while the Barak has 94 km length of navigable waterways. The Sadiya – Dhubri stretch of the Brahmaputra River has been declared as the 2nd National Waterways of the country. The waterways being the cheapest mode of transport, effective exploitation of these waterways in order to cater to the growing need for goods and passenger movement is the need of the hour. The Government owned organisations — Central Inland Waterways Corporation and Directorate of Inland Water Transport (IWT), Assam, are operating water transport services on the river Brahmaputra and Barak on commercial basis. These services are used for the transportation of passengers and goods alike. Currently, the Directorate of Inland Water Transport is operating 74 ferry services, out of which 54 ferries are plying in the Brahmaputra valley and 24 in the Barak valley. The IWT Department has introduced 61 nos. of cargo cum passenger service in Assam for transportation of commuters throughout the nook and corner of the State where no road communications are available. At present the IWT department has 240 nos of passenger ferry vessels and 17 nos of commercial vessels of its own. Besides these Government owned organisations, large number of private owners conducted ferry services (commonly known as bhoot-bhooty services) to transport goods and passengers to the remotest hinterlands under un-organised sector.

The IWT department has introduced Air-conditioned long distance river cruise service for the development for river tourism. The department has leased out a vessel M K Charaidew to private entrepreneur on hire basis. The department has also introduced two luxurious A/C cruise vessels on the river Brahmaputra and they are being operated by the department itself at Guwahati. The IWT department has also constructed a RCC jetty on the 11 nos of floating restaurants (A/C & Non A/C) on board of IWT vessels and three river cruise services on the river Brahmaputra. The department has also constructed 7 nos of 25 m long Single Decker floating terminal at north bank and 2 nos of 28 m long Double Decker floating terminal at the south bank of the Brahmaputra at Guwahati under centrally sponsored scheme.

• Postal Communication The Assam Postal Circle has a network of 4,011 post offices (as on March, 2016) out of which 3,725 post offices are located in rural areas. On an average, each post office serves a population of 22,577 persons and covers 19.54 sq km areas. There are 3 Night Post Offices also functioning in the State located at Guwahati GPO, Dibrugarh HO and Silchar HO for convenience of the people. In addition, there are 353 modernised post offices and 634 computerised post offices in the State. Apart from the above, there are 4 National Speed Post Centre and 16 Speed Post Centre in the State and Postal Mail Conveyance covers 4,428 railway km. The Circle is utilising services of Indian Airlines & Jet Airways for transmitting outward airmails from all the Air Centres of the region. In respect of transmission of local mails to all District Headquarters except Marigaon and Dhemaji, service of ASTC and Private Night Super Buses are utilised. The traditional Money Order service has been upgraded and re-introduced as e-MO for speedy delivery with the same tariff.

• Telecommunication-

Telephone : Assam Telecom Circle, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is the largest telecom operator in Assam which was formed in 1987, providing comprehensive range of telecom services in the State. BSNL is reaching the nook and corner of Assam with focused development thrust. At present 577 telephone exchanges functioning in the State. (As on March 2016)

Telecom Facilities in Assam-

Item                                                                       2013-14                         2014-15                2015-16

Direct Exchange Lines                                    1463773                               1427318                1503449

Rural Telephone Connections                     459014                                449347                  482397

Village Public Telephones (VPTs)              24692                                   24692                    24663

Total Telephones                                       15462192                            16611629            17318325

Tele-density (%)                                        48.74                                     51.90                    53.95    

Phones Per 100 of Persons                          Ur. 126.27                            Ur. 129.05            Ur.132.26

Ru. 31.13 Ru.                                                      37.41 Ru                              34.69 RU                  39.18

Public Call Offices                                             11207                                    10350                      8909

The overall tele-density (telephone per 100 of popula-tion) of the State as on March 2015 was 53.95 as against the national average of 79.36. During the year 2013-14, the overall tele-density of Assam was 48.74 as against the national av-erage of 75.23. The subscriber base basic services provided by the BSNL in the State were 15,03,449 as on March 2016 as against the total capacity of 21,52,273 which included WLL sub-scribers and wireless subscribers. The total number of tele-phone connections as on March 2015 was 4.5 percent more than of March 2014. Private operators also provided 1,440 wire-line phones to its subscribers till March 2015 in Assam.

In respect of wireless phone (mobile segment) connec-tions, there were 1.72 crore mobile subscribers in Assam as on March 2015. BSNL alone provides around 8.6 percent of the total mobile connections in the State till March 2015. The private mobile service operators, on the other hand, provided about 1.58 crore mobile connections as on March 2015. Thus, the share of mobile connections provided by the private operators has marginally decreased from 92.2 percent as on March 2014 to 91.7 percent as on March 2015. Bharati Televentures (Airtel), Disnet Wireless (Aircel), Reliance and Vodafone are the main private mobile service provider com-panies operating in Assam.

Major Groupwise Wireless Subscriber in Assam-(As on March 2015)

Group                   Assam                   India

Airtel                     51,28,549             22,60,17,413

Reliance              23,25,258              10,94,72,475

Vodaphone        31,81,129             18,38,03,013

Idea                       8,50,910              15,78,07,668

Aircel                     44,03,721            8,13,95,713

BSNL                      12,61,324             7,72,23,655

 Total                     1,71,50,891         96,98,93,795

According to the Annual Report 2015-16 of the Department of Telecommunications, Government of India, there were 1,73,18,325 telephones in Assam out of which 2.79 percent were rural. Moreover, the total telephones in Assam as on March 2015 share only 1.79 percent total telephones in the Country. BSNL also provided Village Public Telephones (VPTs) to 24,663 inhabited villages of Assam till March 2016. Source : Economic Survey, Assam, 2016-17

Radio : Before the All India Radio centre started in Assam, Kolkata radio station used to broadcast Assamese programmes for half an hour regularly during World War II. The first Assamese song was broadcasted on 7 July, 1943. The songs were Vip jip baraxun pore’ (Lyricist : Umesh Chandra Chuwdhuri) and ‘Utija rupali naon’ (Bishnu Rabha). Both were performed by Bela Mukherjee. The Guwahati Station of All India Radio became functional on 1st July, 1948 with the efforts of first Chief Minister of Assam, Gopinath Bordoloi. In the beginning, the Station had two transmissions daily. The morning transmission was from 7.00 to 8.30 am and evening transmission from 5.00 to 9.15 pm. Initially the station was broadcasting its programme from two studios (Shillong and Guwahati) through a 1 KW medium wave transmitter. The two units were connected by a telephone line. in 1953, the power of the station was increased with the installation of a 10 KW medium wave transmitter at Jalukbari. As a result, the station extended its coverage area to Kamrup, Nagaon and other nearby districts. In 1953, the headquarter of the Shillong-Guwahati Station was shifted from Shillong to Guwahati. This centre was permanently shifted to Chandmari, Guwahati in 1957. In 1958, the power of the station was augmented by commissioning a 10 KW short wave transmitter, which helped the Guwahati station’s broadcast to reach the entire Assam. A 100 KW medium wave transmitter was established in Dibrugarh irt 1968. It became functional from 15 February, 1969. The first Station Director of the Shillong-Guwahati Station was Mehera Masani. The first Assamese programme co-ordinator was Ubedul Latif Baruah and Assistant director of the station was Dilip Sengupta. The first musical feature programme broadcast by the station was the ‘Asomiyar Maat’ by Dr Bhupen Hazarika (1 July, 1948). The first Assamese radio news bulletin was broadcasted from AIR Guwahati in the year 1957. The first Radio play broadcasted by the Guwahati station was a play by Satyaprasad Baruah, viz, ‘Dhoraloi Jidina Namibo Sorog’ (6 July, 1948).

Presently, the All India Radio Stations in Assam are as follows :

Radio Station     Meters                                 Frequency (KHz)              Formation

Guwahati            411.5, 289.8        729,1035, 4940                   01.07.1948

Dibrugarh            529.1                    567 15.                                  02.1969

Diphu                    189.4                     1584                                       04.02.1996

Tezpur                  266.6                     1125                                       01.07.2000

 Kokrajhar           198.41                   1512                                       15.08.1999

Silchar                   362.3                    828

FM Stations : All India Radio also provides FM services at different frequencies in the following stations

Location               Frequency (MHz)

Guwahati            100.8

 Jorhat                  103.4

 Nagaon               102.7

Dibrugarh            100.1, 101.3

Tezpur                  102.4

 Dhubri                103.3                     Relay Station

Haflong                100.2

 Lakhimpur          100.1                    Relay Station

 Kokrajhar           100.1

 Margherita        100.1                     Relay Station

 Nazira                  100.1                     Relay Station

Silchar                   100.1                     Tezpur 102.4

Tinsukia                100.1                       Relay Station

Moreover, Guwahati has some private FM channels 11.111101y, Big FM 92.7, Red FM 93.5 and Gup-Chup 94.3. In 2009, with the initiative of Krishna Kanta Handique State (Von t lniversity, the only State Open University of the entire Not tst, the first community radio service of the region ww; !mulched. The University has launched the first.

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