Kosi Mahasetu And Other Projects: How Regions Of Bihar Are Being Better Connected Within Themselves

Fulfilling a long wait of the region, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has dedicated the historic Kosi Rail Mahasetu to the Nation and inaugurated new Rail Lines and Electrification Projects in Bihar strengthening rail connectivity in Eastern India.

Speaking on the occasion through video conference, Modi said a new history has been created in the field of rail connectivity in Bihar. He said projects worth about Rs 3000 crore like inauguration of Kosi Mahasetu and Kiul Bridge, electrification projects, promotion of Make in India in Railways and a dozen of new job creating projects are launched. These projects will not only strengthen Bihar’s rail network but also strengthen West Bengal and Eastern India’s rail connectivity.

Governor of Bihar Phagu Chauhan, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Railway Minister i Piyush Goyal, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Animal Husbandry Minister Giriraj Singh, Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi joined the historic occasion.

Apart from Kosi Rail Mahasetu Bridge, the Prime Minister also inaugurated other rail projects related to passenger facilities for the benefit of Bihar which include new Electric Locomotive Shed at Barauni, a new railway bridge on the Kiul River, five Electrification projects at Muzaffarpur – Sitamarhi, Katihar–New Jalpaiguri, Samastipur-Darbhanga-Jaynagar, Samastipur-Khagaria, Bhagalpur- Shivnarayanpur Sections.

The new rail projects also include Karnauti- Bakhtiyarpur link bypass and 3rd line between Barh-Bakhiyarpur, new bridge on River Kiul and Electric Interlocking.

Prime Minister congratulated the people of Bihar for the new and modern facilities which would benefit the railway passengers of Eastern India including Bihar.

He said many parts of Bihar are cut off from each other due to many rivers crisscrossing the state and people have to perform long journeys due to this. He said four years ago, construction of two Mahasetu was started in Patna and in Munger, to solve this problem. Now due to the commissioning of these two rail bridges, the travel between North and South Bihar has eased and this has initiated a new momentum for development especially in North Bihar.

Modi said a severe earthquake which occurred eight and a half decades ago isolated the Mithila and Kosi region and it is a coincidence that both the regions are being interlinked in the midst of a pandemic like Corona.

He added that today the Supaul-Asanpur- Kupha rail route is dedicated to the nation due to the hard work of the migrant labourers who were also involved in the construction of the bridge. He said this new Kosi rail line was envisaged in 2003 when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister and Nitish Kumar was the Railway Minister, to overcome the problems of the people of Mithila and Kosi region.

He said this project was fast paced during the present Government and work has been completed on Supaul-Asanpur Kupaha route using modern technology.

The Prime Minister said today a new rail service commencing between Supaul-Asanpur via Kosi Mahasetu will greatly benefit the people of Supaul, Araria and Saharsa districts. This would also make an alternative rail route to the people of the North East.

He said with this Mahasetu the journey of 300 km is reduced to 22 km and will also promote business and employment in this entire region. He said this would save both time and money of the people of Bihar.

The Prime Minister said like Kosi Mahasetu, a new rail route on Kiul River with the electronic interlocking facility trains will be able to run at the speed of 125 kilometers per hour on this entire route. He added electronic interlocking will ease the movement of trains on the main line from Howrah-Delhi and will provide relief to unnecessary delays and travel would be safer.

The Prime Minister said for the past 6 years, efforts are being made to shape the Indian Railways as per the aspirations of a new India and fulfill the expectations of a ‘AtmaNirbhar Bharat’. He said today Indian Railways is cleaner than ever before.

He added Indian Railways have been made safer than ever by eliminating unmanned rail crossings from the broad gauge rail lines. He said the speed of Indian Railways has increased. Made in India trains like Vande Bharat are a symbol of self-reliance and modernity and are becoming part of the rail network.

The Prime Minister said Bihar is reaping huge benefits due to the modernization efforts in railways. In the last few years, to promote Make in India, Electric loco factory has been set up in Madhepura and Diesel loco factory in Marhaura. In both these projects, almost Rs 44000 crore have been invested. He said people of Bihar would be proud that the most powerful electric locomotive in India – 12000 horsepower locomotive is manufactured in Bihar. Bihar’s first loco shed has also started functioning which would maintain electric locomotives.

The Prime Minister said today almost 90% of the rail network in Bihar has been electrified.

He added that in Bihar over the period of last 6 years, more than 3000 kilometers of railways have been electrified. He said only about 325 km of new rail lines were commissioned in Bihar in the 5 years before 2014 whereas about 700 km of new rail lines were commissioned in Bihar in the 5 years after 2014 which is almost double the distance constructed earlier. He added another 1000 km of new rail lines are under construction.

The Prime Minister said with the introduction of Hajipur – Ghoswar – Vaishali rail line, Delhi and Patna will be connected by direct rail service. This service will give a lot of boost to tourism in Vaishali and new jobs will be created. He said work on dedicated freight corridors is going at a faster pace and about 250 km length of the corridor would fall in Bihar. After this completion of this project, the problem of delay in passenger trains will be reduced and the delay in the movement of goods will also be greatly reduced.

The Prime Minister lauded the railways for working tirelessly during the crisis of Corona. He said Railways played a prominent role in providing employment to migrant labourers and also bringing them back through Shramik Special Trains. He said the country’s first Kisan rail was introduced between Bihar and Maharashtra during the Corona period.

Speaking on the occasion, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said that completion of Kosi Mahasetu has been achieved under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mahasetu will act as a catalyst to the growth of agriculture and economy of Bihar.

Speaking on the occasion, Nitish Kumar thanked Indian Railways for completion of the project and taking up other development initiatives in the state. CM Bihar especially thanked Railways for helping the natives of Bihar in coming back to their homes through running of trains for them in adverse circumstances.

The dedication of the Kosi Rail Mahasetu is a watershed moment in the history of Bihar and the entire region connecting to the North East. In 1887, a meter gauge link was built in between Nirmali and Bhaptiyahi (Saraigarh). During the heavy flood and severe Indo Nepal earthquake in 1934, the rail link was washed away and thereafter due to the meandering nature of river Kosi no attempt was made to restore this Rail link for a long period.

The Kosi Mega Bridge line project was sanctioned by the Government of India during 2003-04. The Kosi Rail Mahasetu is 1.9 KM long and its construction cost is Rs. 516 Crore. This bridge is of strategic importance along the India-Nepal border. The project was completed during the COVID-Pandemic where the migrant labour also participated in its completion.