Bihar’s Governor Shri Phagu Chauhan ji, Bihar’s Chief Minister Shri Nitish Kumar ji, my colleagues in the Union council of ministers, Shri Piyush Goyal ji, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad ji, Shri Giriraj Singh ji, Shri Nityananad Rai ji, Shrimati Devashri Chaudhary ji, Bihar’s Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi ji, other ministers, parliamentarians and legislators and all my brothers and sisters of Bihar who have joined this function through technology.
Friends, a new history has been created in the field of rail connectivity in Bihar. A dozen of projects, including the Kosi Mahasetu and Kiul Bridge, have been launched today which will improve Bihar’s rail network and electrification of the railways and promote the Make in India in Railways, besides creating new job opportunities. These projects worth 3,000 crore rupees will not only strengthen Bihar’s rail network but will also bolster West Bengal and Eastern India’s rail connectivity. I congratulate crores of rail passengers of Eastern India, including Bihar, for the new and modern facilities.
Friends, many parts of Bihar have remained cut off due to spread of rivers like the Ganges, Kosi and Son. People in almost every part of Bihar have had to face a big problem, which is the long journey caused due to rivers. When Nitish ji and Paswan ji were railway ministers, they had also made several efforts to resolve this problem. Then a long period came when not much work was done in this direction. But, we are moving ahead with a pledge to resolve this big issue of the crores of people of Bihar. Several speedy steps have been taken in this regard in the last five-six years to resolve this problem.
Friends, construction of two Mahasetu was started in Patna and Munger four years ago to connect North and South Bihar. With the commencement of these two rail bridges, it has become easier for the people to travel between North and South Bihar. The areas of North Bihar, in particular, which were deprived of development for decades, have got a new momentum for development. Today, the Mahasetu connecting Mithila and Kosi region and Supaul-Asanpur-Kupha rail route have also been dedicated to the people of Bihar.
Friends, a severe earthquake which occurred eight-and-a-half decades ago had isolated the Mithila and Kosi region. It is a coincidence today that both the regions are being interlinked in the midst of a pandemic like Corona. I have been told that migrant labourers from other states have also contributed immensely during the last stage of construction works. This Mahasetu and this project have been the dream projects of respected Atal ji and Nitish Babu. A new Kosi rail line project was envisaged in 2003 when Nitish ji was the Railway Minister and respected Atal ji was the Prime Minister. The objective was to overcome the hardships of the people of Mithila and Kosi region. With this objective in mind, the foundation stone of the project was laid by Atal ji in 2003. But Atal ji’s government lost power next year and thereafter, the Kosi railway line project also slowed down.
Had there been concerns about Mithilanchal and the problems of the people of Bihar, the work on the Kosi rail line project would have fast paced. Who was holding the Railway Ministry, whose government was there? I don’t want to go into detail. But the fact is that had the work continued with the same pace even after 2004, this day would have never come. It would have taken several years, decades and perhaps many generations. But if there is a firm resolve and a colleague like Nitish ji, anything is possible. Modern technology was used to prevent soil erosion to complete the work of the Supaul-Asanpur Kupaha route. The damage caused during the severe floods in the year 2017 has also been compensated during this time. Finally, Kosi Mahasetu and Supaul-Asanpur Kupaha route is ready to serve the people of Bihar.
Friends, with the start of the new rail service between Supaul-Asanpur kupaha via Kosi Mahasetu, the people of Supaul, Araria and Saharsa districts will be greatly benefited. This would also make an alternative rail route to the people of the North East. This Mahasetu is a means of convenience for the Kosi and Mithila region, it is also going to promote business and employment in this entire region.
Friends, the people of Bihar know it very well that the rail journey from Nirmali to Saraigarh presently is almost 300 kilometres. One has to go through Darbhanga, Samastipur, Khagaria, Mansi and Saharsa. The day is not far when the people of Bihar will not have to undertake 300-kilometre journey. The journey of 300 km will be reduced to 22 km and the eight-hour rail journey will be completed in half an hour. That is, the people of Bihar will have to spend less time on journey and they will able to save time and money as well.
Friends, like Kosi Mahasetu, the beginning of a new rail electronic inter-locking facility on Kiul river is going to facilitate convenience and speed on this entire route. With the construction of this new railway bridge, trains would now be able to run at a speed of 100-125 kilometres per hour on the main line from Jhajha to Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Junction. The electronic interlocking will ease the movement of trains on the Howrah-Delhi main line and will provide relief to unnecessary delays and travel would be safer.
Friends, for the past 6 years, efforts are being made to shape the Indian Railways to meet the aspirations of a new India and the expectations of a self-reliant India. Today Indian Railways is much cleaner than ever. Indian Railways have been made safer than ever by eliminating unmanned rail crossings from the broad gauge rail lines. The speed of Indian Railways has increased. Made in India trains like Vande Bharat are a symbol of self-reliance and modernity and are becoming part of the rail network. Today, the process of connecting the untouched parts of the country with the railway network, widening of railway lines and electrification is expanding rapidly.
Bihar and the entire eastern India are reaping huge benefits due to the modernization efforts in railways. In the last few years, electric loco factory has been set up in Madhepura and diesel loco factory in Marhaura to promote Make in India. 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 - 12000 horsepower locomotive is being manufactured in Bihar. Bihar's first loco shed has also started functioning in Barauni for the maintenance of electric locomotives. Another big thing is that today, about 90 per cent of the railway network in Bihar has been electrified. In the last six years, more than 3000 kilometers of railways have been electrified. Today five more projects have been added.
Friends, the Railways have been a great means of commuting for the people in the kind of circumstances that have prevailed in Bihar. Improving the railway situation in Bihar has been one of the top priorities of the central government. Today, I would like to share a fact with you regarding the fast-paced work on railway network that is going on in Bihar. Only about 325 kilometre of new rail lines were commissioned in Bihar in the 5 years before 2014. To put it simply, only about 325 kilometre of new rail lines were commissioned in Bihar in the 5 years before 2014, whereas about 700 km of new rail lines were commissioned in Bihar in the 5 years after 2014, which means the commissioning of the new rail lines has been almost double. The construction of another 1000 km of new rail lines is presently underway. With the introduction of Hajipur-Ghoswar-Vaishali rail line, Vaishali will be directly connected with the rail service in Delhi and Patna. This service will give a lot of boost to tourism in Vaishali and new jobs will be created for the young colleagues. Similarly, people will greatly benefit from Islampur-Natesar new rail line. Particularly the followers of Buddhism will greatly benefit from this new facility.
Friends, today, work on dedicated freight corridors is also progressing at a rapid pace in the country, which will provide a comprehensive system of separate tracks for both goods and passenger trains. Out of this, about 250 km long dedicated freight corridor is being built in Bihar, which is going to be completed very soon. It will also reduce the problem of delay in passenger and goods trains as well.
Friends, my special appreciation for the lakhs of employees of the Indian Railways, their colleagues, for the way the Railways have worked during this crisis of Corona. The railways worked overnight in bringing lakhs of the country’s workers safely to their homes through Shramik Special Trains. The Railways have been playing a prominent role in providing employment to migrant labourers at local level. During the Corona period, the passenger service of Indian Railways had stopped for some time but the work on safety and modernization of trains continued at a fast pace. The country's first Kisan Rail, i.e., cold storage on the wheels, was introduced between Bihar and Maharashtra during the Corona period.
Friends, this function may have been organized by the Railways, but alongside railways this is also an effort to ease and improve the lives of the people. Therefore, I would like to discuss another subject today with you, which is related to the health of the people of Bihar. There used to be hardly any medical college in Bihar before Nitish ji’s government was formed. It not only caused a lot of inconvenience to the patients in Bihar, but the meritorious youth of Bihar had to move to other states for medical studies. Today there are more than 15 medical colleges in Bihar, and many of which have been built only in the last few years. A few days ago, a new AIIMS has been approved for Bihar. This new AIIMS will be established in Darbhanga. It will be a 750-bed hospital and there will also be 100 seats for MBBS and 60 seats for nursing. Thousands of new jobs will be created with this AIIMS in Darbhanga.
Friends, yesterday was an important day for the country, for the welfare of the farmers and in the field of agricultural reforms. On the occasion of the Vishwakarma Jayanti yesterday, historic agricultural reforms bills have been passed in the Lok Sabha. These bills have liberated our farmers from many restrictions and the farmers have been given a new freedom in farming after independence. They have been liberated. The farmers will have more options in selling their produce. I extend my wishes to the farmers of the country for the passage of these bills. The middlemen between the farmer and customer pocket a large part of the earnings of the farmers. These bills were very necessary to protect them. These bills are the defence shields for the farmers. But there are some people, who ruled the country for decades, are trying to create confusion among farmers on the issue and are lying to the farmers.
Friends, these people used to talk big to lure farmers during elections, would put it in writing.. put it in the manifesto, but would forget everything after the elections. And today when all these things, which are part of the manifestoes of the people who have ruled the country for so many decades, are being implemented by the NDA government, are being offered to the farmers, these people are misleading the farmers. The people, who are doing politics on APMC Act and are opposing the changes in the provisions of the agricultural market, had themselves promised these reforms in their manifesto. Now that the NDA government has brought about these reforms, these people are hell bent on opposing it, spreading lies and misleading farmers. This is just one of the many examples of opposing for the sake of the Opposition. But these people are forgetting that the country’s farmers are very much aware. He can see that some people do not like the new opportunities being offered to the farmers. The farmer of the country is watching who are standing with the middlemen.
Friends, these people used to talk big on the MSP, but never ever fulfilled their promises. It is only the present NDA government which has fulfilled the promises made to the farmers. Now they are resorting to disinformation campaign that the government will not give the benefits of MSP to farmers. These are all concocted lies that the government will not purchase paddy and wheat from the farmers. This is a complete lie, wrong and a fraud with the farmers. Our government was, is and will be committed to provide fair prices to farmers through MSP. The government procurement will continue as before. Any person is allowed to sell his produce anywhere in the world. If he makes garments, utensils or shoes, he is allowed to sell it anywhere wherever he wishes to. But my farmer brothers and sisters were denied this right. With the implementation of the new provisions, the farmer will be able to sell his produce in any markets of the country and at his desired price. This is a golden opportunity for our cooperatives, Farmer Producers Organisations (FPOs) and the self-help groups in Bihar.
Friends, Nitish ji is also present in this function. He also realizes it very well the harm that APMC Act has been doing to the farmers. This is the reason why Nitish ji after becoming the chief minister of Bihar had removed this act in his early years. The country has embarked on a path shown by Bihar.
Friends, never before so much has been done for the farmers what the NDA government did in the last six years. We have made concerted efforts to understand and resolve each and every problem of the farmers. The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Kalyan Yojana was started so that the farmers could purchase seeds, manure and would not need to borrow money to meet their smallest of the needs. Under this scheme, almost one lakh crore rupees have been directly transferred to the accounts of the 10 crore farmers in the country. And there is no middleman. About one lakh crore rupees is being spent on the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana to implement the irrigation projects which were pending since decades, so that the farmers don’t face water problems. The urea, for which there used to be long queues and was easily accessible to factories rather than the farmers, is now being neem coated 100 percent. A network of cold storage is being built on a large scale in the country, major investments are being done in the industries related to food processing, an agricultural infrastructure fund worth one lakh crore rupees is being created. A nationwide campaign is being launched to protect the livestock from diseases. The central government is continuously working to increase fish production, encourage poultry, increase honey production, increase milk production and to give additional options to farmers to increase their income.
Friends, today I want to convey my point very humbly to the farmers of the country, want to give a clear message. Don’t fall for any confusion. The farmers of the country have to remain alert from these people. Be aware of the people, who ruled the country for decades and are lying to the farmers today. They are only resorting to theatrics regarding the farmers’ security. Actually, they want to keep the farmers in shackles. They are supporting the middlemen who loot the farmer’s income. This is a very historic step to grant freedom to farmers to sell their produce to anybody and anywhere in the country. In the 21st century, the farmer of India will not be in bondage, he will cultivate freely, will sell his produce wherever he wants and where he gets better prices. He will not remain dependant on any middleman and will increase his produce as well as his income. It is the need of the country and the need of the time.
Friends, it is the responsibility of all of us to empower everyone in the development of the nation, whether it is farmers, women or the youth. All the projects that have been dedicated today are a part of this obligation. I am sure that the projects which have been launched today will greatly benefit the people of Bihar, the youth and the women.
Friends, we all have to be very careful during this trying time of corona. The slightest negligence can cause a lot of harm to you and your dear ones. Therefore, I would like to reiterate my request to the people of Bihar and the country. Please wear masks and wear it properly, always pay attention to the distance of two yards, follow it, avoid going to crowded places, avoid overcrowding, drink kadha to boost your immunity, drink lukewarm water, and constantly focus on your health. Be alert, stay safe, stay healthy!!
May your family remain healthy. With this wish, thank you very much!