Ahead of Bihar polls, PM Narendra Modi dedicates Kosi rail bridge to nation
The Kosi bridge reduces the distance between Nirmali and Saraigarh in Bihar drastically and is also strategically important.Updated: Sep 18, 2020, 15:38 IST
Ending over eight-and-a half decades long wait for Mithilanchal region in Bihar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday dedicated the strategically important 1.9-km long Kosi Rail Mahasetu and 11 other projects worth Rs 3000 crore to the nation through video conferencing and termed it a ‘historic moment”.
The bridge along the Indo-Nepal border is of strategic importance and it reduces the distance between Nirmali and Saraigarh to just 22 km from the circuitous 300 km at present. After the meter gauge rail link between Nirmali and Saraigarh- built in 1887- was snapped in 1934 earthquake, people had to face difficult times as a new bridge eluded them for 86 years.
In poll-bound Bihar, the PM has inaugurated or laid the foundation stone for a slew of projects worth thousands of crores in the last couple of weeks. Modi said the bridge would not only benefit the locals, but also provide an alternative route for the north east.
“This is not just a bridge, which should have come long ago, but a link to the region’s prosperity. In Bihar, travelling time has always been a big issue due to a number of rivers, but nobody cared for it. The foundation of Kosi Rail Mahasetu was also laid by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on June 6, 2003, when Nitish Kumar was the railway minister. It was their dream project. They could envision the problems of the people, but after 2004, the work slackened and picked up again only after 2014,” he added.
Listing out a number of mega railway projects given to Bihar in the last six years, including investment of Rs 44,000-crore in Madhepura electric locomotive factory and Marhoura diesel locomotive factory, Modi also praised CM Nitish Kumar.
“When you have a partner like Nitishji and strong commitment to do something, then things move fast and anything is possible. I don’t want to go into details as to what happened before 2014, but that remains the truth,” he added.
He also praised Nitish Kumar for setting up over 15 medical colleges in Bihar, while, before him there were just a few. “Now, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Darbhanga will also be there. It will not only have 750 beds, but also 100 seats for MBBS and 60 for nursing,” he added.
Maintaining that Bihar was the focus of the railways, Modi said the annual investment in the state had gone up more than three fold in the last six years and it had resulted in the achievement of over 90% electrification. “Now 12,000 HP electric engines are being made in Bihar as part of ‘Make in India’ and Barauni has got the state’s first electric loco shed,” he added.
“In the last four years, two mega bridges were built connecting north and south Bihar – one in Patna and another in Munger. Today, speeds of trains have increased and trains like Vande Bharat, made in India, are part of the rail network,” he added. He also referred to Vaishali, the native place of late Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, by underlining how the new projects would boost tourism in the area.
Modi also praised the railways for working day and night to bring back lakhs of Bihari migrants stranded in different parts of the country during the lockdown in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.
Earlier, Nitish Kumar thanked the PM and railway minister Piyush Goyal for the Mahasetu and said that it was an emotional moment for him, as he was involved with its planning and the foundation stone laying ceremony.
Goyal said that in the 17 days of September, freight had increased by 14% compared to the same period last year, indicating that the economy had started reviving fast.
Deputy CM Sushil Modi said that Bihar had given the nation eight railway ministers, but after 2014, the projects had gathered pace to realise the dreams of Bihar people.