The rail link between Nirmali and Saraigarh (erstwhile Bhaptiahi) railway stations, is likely to be restored after nearly 78 years. The mega rail bridge over the Kosi is to be handed over to the railway ministry by the first week of September.
An official of the GPT Infra Project Limited, which is involved in the construction of the bridge, said that the work of the bridge was almost complete. “The substructure portion of the bridge with 39 foundation pillars was completed before Kosi floods of 2008. The girder work on the upper portion of the bridge has
also been completed now. We will complete the work by August end and hand over the bridge to the railways for operation,” the official said.
The rail bridge had caved in during the devastating earthquake in 1934 snapping communication link between Mithilanchal and Kosi divisions.
Train services ceased with further damage in 1937. Since then, no bridge site could be finalised to restore the rail line. People of Mithilanchal and Kosi have long relied on boats or took circuitous roads via Darbhanga and Barauni to travel to either side.
The Kosi mega rail bridge is one of the four planned under the Rail Vikas Yojna announced by the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on August 15, 2002. The other three projects include the Digha rail bridge in Patna, Munger railway bridge and one over Brahmaputra in Assam. Vajpayee had laid the foundation stone in 2003. Though scheduled
for completion in 2009, it was delayed by three years leading to cost overruns. The two-km-long rail bridge constructed at a cost of R400 crore will connect Nirmali terminus of Darbhanga-Sakri-Jhanjharpur-Nirmali section with Saraigarh station of Saharsa-Forbesganj route and serve as an alternative route between north Bihar and north-eastern states through North Frontier Railway.
“The connect will not only reduce distance between Supaul and Darbhanga districts hugely but also prove a boon for the people of north Bihar. The railways will introduce train services on the broad gauge line on this particular route to much relief of the people of the area,” a railway official said. It would be the second communication link for people of Mithilanchal to be launched this year. The mega road bridge parallel to the new rail bridge and part of the east-west corridor, was thrown open for vehicular traffic early this year.