What is the importance of Kosi Mahasetu Bridge?

On Sep 18, 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to dedicate the Kosi Rail mahasetu to the nation. He will also inaugurate 12 other rail projects that are related to passenger facilities for the benefit of the state of Bihar.

About the bridge

Maha Setu Bridge is 1.8 km long and provides a short route to the Eastern parts of India. It enhances the accessibility to transport army and military related equipment from Northern part of India to North Eastern parts of India.

The bridge is being constructed at a cost of rupees 516 crores. It is of strategic importance as it is located along India Nepal border. The project was of great help to the migrant labourers as it provided them with their livelihood especially during COVID-19 pandemic.

Current scenario

Currently the trains from Northeast India have to come to Katihar in Bihar and Malda in West Bengal to reach other parts of the country. This route is called chicken neck and the bridge will reduce congestion in the area.

History of the bridge

A rail link between Nirmali and Bhaptahi was built in 1887 by the North Western Railway in Bengal. However, due to the Indo Nepal earthquake in 1934 this rain link was washed away.  There were no efforts to restore the link due to the meandering nature of river Kosi. In 2003, the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee laid the foundation of the bridge after the demand of the people living in the region. The bridge is to become operational after 17 years of its foundation.

Other projects to be launched

Prime Minister will also be launching the Saharsa-Asanpur Kupha  Railway services. This will make it easy for long distance travel to the Metropolitan cities such as Mumbai Delhi and Kolkata. Also, he will launch other railway line projects such as Islampur-Nateshar and Hajipur-Ghoswar-Vaishali.

Also, he will flag off several Railway electrification projects on the same day.

River Kosi

Kosi is a Trans boundary river. It flows through Nepal, India and Tibet. River Kosi is called the sorrow of Bihar. This is mainly due to the floods caused by the river in the state.  The flow of the river increases by 18 times during flood season.

The Sagarmatha National Park is located on the banks of the Kosi river. The park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979. Kosi river is the major tributary of river Ganges.