Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday inaugurated the Kosi Rail Mahasetu and a slew of other rail projects worth about Rs 3,000 crore for Bihar and hit out at the previous UPA government for the “slow” progress in the development of railways in the state during its rule.
Modi dedicated the ‘Kosi Rail Mahasetu’ to the nation and inaugurated through video conference new railway lines and electrification projects in the state. The prime minister has in the past few days inaugurated and laid the foundation stone for a number of development projects for Bihar, which is slated to go to polls in October-November.
Speaking at the virtual event, Modi said that “new history” has been created in the field of rail connectivity in Bihar as projects worth about Rs 3,000 crore like the inauguration of the Kosi Mahasetu, Kiul Bridge and a dozen other job creating projects have been launched.
रेलवे के आधुनिकीकरण के व्यापक प्रयास का बहुत बड़ा लाभ बिहार को, पूर्वी भारत को मिल रहा है।
बीते 6 साल में 3 हजार किलोमीटर से अधिक रेलमार्ग के बिजलीकरण के साथ बिहार में लगभग 90 प्रतिशत रेल नेटवर्क का बिजलीकरण पूरा हो चुका है। आज इसमें 5 और प्रोजेक्ट जुड़ गए हैं। pic.twitter.com/WH1bHJWFb4
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 18, 2020
The Kosi Rail Mahasetu (mega bridge) is 1.9-km long and its construction cost is about Rs 516 crore. This bridge is of strategic importance along the India-Nepal border. These projects will not only strengthen Bihar’s rail network but also strengthen West Bengal and eastern India’s rail connectivity, he said.
The Kosi rail project was the ‘dream project’ of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the then railway minister Nitish Kumar, but after the Vajpayee government, the speed of the project slowed down, Modi said.
“In 2003, Atal ji was prime minister and Nitish ji railway minister when the new Kosi rail line was conceptualised with an aim to solve the problems being faced by the people of Mithila and Kosi,” Modi said.
With this thinking, in 2003 the ground-breaking ceremony was done by Vajpayee, but in the next year, his government went and after that the speed of work on the Kosi railway line project slowed down considerably, he said.
“If the people of Mithilanchal and the people of Bihar had been cared for, then the work would have been done at a fast pace on the Kosi rail line project,” the prime minister said.
“In this period, who was in charge of the Railways, whose government it was? I do not want to go into that, but the truth is that if the speed of work would have been the same (under our government) as was earlier then the project would have taken ages to be completed,” Modi said in an apparent attack on the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
In the last six years, efforts were made to shape the Indian Railways as per the aspirations of ‘New India’ and expectations of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, he said.
Asserting that the railways is cleaner than ever before, Modi said the railways has been made safer than ever by eliminating unmanned crossings from broad-gauge railway lines. Noting that the speed of trains has also increased, he said Made in India’ trains like the Vande Bharat are a symbol of self-reliance and modernity and are becoming part of the rail network.
Modi said Bihar is reaping huge benefits due to the modernisation efforts in the railways. “In the last few years, to promote ‘Make in India’, an electric loco factory was set up in Madhepura and a diesel loco factory in Marhaura. In both these projects, almost Rs 44,000 crore have been invested,” he said.
He said the people of Bihar will be proud that the most powerful electric locomotive in India – a 12,000 horsepower loco- is being manufactured in the state.
Bihar’s first loco shed has also started functioning and it will maintain electric locomotives, he said. Modi said almost 90 per cent of the rail network in Bihar has been electrified and over the last six years, over 3,000-km of tracks have been electrified in the state. He said only about 325 km of new railway lines were commissioned in Bihar in the five years before 2014, whereas about 700 km of new lines were commissioned in the state in the five years after 2014. Another 1,000 km of new lines are under construction, Modi said.
Many parts of Bihar are cut off from each other due to rivers crisscrossing the state and people have to undertake long journeys due to this, he said. He said four years ago, construction of two ‘Mahasetus’ 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.
He said that a severe earthquake which occurred almost eight and a half decades ago isolated the Mithila and the Kosi regions, and it is a coincidence that both the regions are being interlinked in the midst of a pandemic. The Supaul-Asanpur-Kupha rail route has been dedicated to the nation due to the hard work of migrant labourers, who were also involved in the construction of the mahasetu, he said.
Modi said a new railway service between Supaul-Asanpur via the Kosi Mahasetu will greatly benefit the people of Supaul, Araria and Saharsa districts. He said like the Kosi Mahasetu, a new rail route on the Kiul river, with electronic interlocking facility, will allow trains to run at a speed of 125 kmph.
Modi said electronic interlocking will ease movement of trains on the main line from Howrah to Delhi and will provide relief from unnecessary delays, and travel would be safer. The prime minister said with the introduction of the Hajipur-Ghoswar-Vaishali rail line, Delhi and Patna will be connected by direct rail service.
He said work on dedicated freight corridors is going on at a fast pace and about 250-km of the corridors will fall in Bihar.
Modi lauded the railways for working tirelessly during the coronavirus crisis and said the railways played a prominent role in providing employment to migrant labourers and also bringing them back through Shramik Special Trains. In his address, Modi also talked about the approval for AIIMS Darbhanga, saying it will create thousands of new jobs.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his deputy Sushil Modi were also present during the virtual event.
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