Modi dedicates Kosi Rail Mahasetu to the nation; inaugurates new rail lines, electrification projects in Bihar
New Delhi, September 18, 2020
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today dedicated the Kosi Rail Mahasetu to the nation and inaugurated new rail lines and electrification projects in Bihar through video conference.
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said a new history has been created in the field of rail connectivity in Bihar. Projects worth about Rs 3,000 crore including the inauguration of Kosi Mahasetu and Kiul Bridge, electrification projects, promotion of Make in India in Railways and a dozen of new job creating projects were launched.
These projects will not only strengthen Bihar’s rail network but also strengthen West Bengal and Eastern India’s rail connectivity, he said.
He congratulated the people of Bihar for the new and modern facilities which would benefit the railway passengers of Eastern India including Bihar. Several parts of Bihar remain cut off from each other due to rivers criss-crossing the state, forcing people to travel longer distances. Four years ago, construction of two mega bridges was started in Patna and in Munger, to solve this problem, he said.
Now, with 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, he said.
The Prime Minister said a severe earthquake eight and a half decades ago isolated the Mithila and Kosi region. It is a coincidence that both the regions were being interlinked amidst a pandemic. The Supaul-Asanpur-Kupha rail route was readied due to the hard work of the migrant labourers who were also involved in the construction of the bridge.
This new Kosi rail line was proposed 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. The project was put on the fast track by the present Government and work was completed using modern technology.
Modi said 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 provide an alternative rail route to the people of the North East. With the completion of this bridge, a journey of 300 km will get reduced to just 22 km and will also promote business and employment in this entire region, he said.
Similarly, the new rail route on Kiul River with the electronic interlocking facility trains will be able to run at the speed of 125 kmph on this route. This facility will ease the movement of trains on the main line from Howrah-Delhi, avoid delays and make travel smooth and safe.
For the past six years, efforts were being made to shape the Indian Railways as per the aspirations of a new India and fulfil the expectations of an ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’. Today, Indian Railways is cleaner than ever before. The network has been made safer than ever by eliminating unmanned rail crossings from the broad gauge rail lines. The speed of the trains has increased. Made in India trains like ‘Vande Bharat’, a symbol of self-reliance and modernity, were becoming part of the rail network, he added.
The Prime Minister said Bihar was reaping huge benefits due to the modernization efforts in railways. In the last few years, to promote Make in India, Electric locomotive factory has been set up in Madhepura and Diesel locomotive factory in Marhaura. In both these projects, almost Rs 44,000 crore have been invested.
People of Bihar would be proud to know that the most powerful electric locomotive in India of 12,000 horsepower is manufactured in Bihar. Bihar's first loco shed has also started functioning which would maintain electric locomotives.
Almost 90% of the rail network in Bihar has been electrified. Over the period of the last six years, more than 3,000 km of the rail track was electrified. Only about 325 km of new rail lines were commissioned in Bihar in the five years before 2014. 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. Another 1,000 km of new rail lines were under construction.
With the introduction of the Hajipur-Ghoswar-Vaishali rail line, Delhi and Patna will be connected by direct rail service. This service will boost tourism in Vaishali and new jobs will be created. Work on the dedicated freight corridors was proceeding at a faster pace and about 250 km length of the corridor falls in Bihar. After the completion of this project, the problem of delays in passenger train services will be reduced and the delay in the movement of goods will also be greatly reduced, he added.
The Prime Minister lauded the railways for working tirelessly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Railways played a prominent role in providing employment to migrant labourers and also in bringing them back through Shramik Special Trains. The country's first Kisan rail was introduced between Bihar and Maharashtra during this period.
Turning to medical education, he said, earlier, there used to be very few medical colleges in Bihar. Due to this the patients faced a lot of inconvenience, even the meritorious youth of the state had to go outside for medical studies. At present, the state has more than 15 medical colleges, many of which have been built only in the last few years.
A few days ago, a new All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) was approved to be established in Darbhanga which was also expected to create thousands of new jobs.
On agricultural reforms, Modi said yesterday was a historic day for the country as two Bills (Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020), were passed by voice vote in the Lok Sabha yesterday which has liberated the farmers from many restrictions.
On September 15, the House had passed the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 which seeks to deregulate food items, including cereals, pulses and onions. The Prime Minister said these reforms will give farmers more options in selling their produce and protect them from middlemen, who take a large share of their earnings.
Criticising the opposition for “spreading lies on the Reforms Bills”, Modi said some people who ruled this country for decades were attempting to mislead the farmers on this issue. The changes in the provisions of the agricultural market in APMC Act were also promised in the election manifesto of the opposition parties who were opposing the reforms now.
He also termed as false, the opposition contention that the benefit of MSP will not be given to the farmers. The government was committed to provide fair prices to farmers through MSP and the procurement will continue as before.
With the new provisions coming into force, farmers will be able to harvest their crop and sell it at the desired price in any markets of the country. Realising the harm done by the APMC Act, the Chief Minister of Bihar had removed this law in Bihar.
He listed the initiatives of the Government to improve the lives of the farmers such as Pradhan Mantri Kisan Kalyan Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, Neem coated Urea, network of cold storage is being built on a large scale in the country, investment is made on food processing industries and the creation of agricultural infrastructure fund.
Modi said the Government was constantly working to increase the income of farmers. A nationwide campaign was also being carried out to protect the livestock from diseases.