Indian Railways' East Coast Railway (ECoR) zone gives Odisha a connectivity boost! ECoR has invited a tender for constructing a major bridge on the Tel river as part of the 289-km Khurda Road-Bolangir new railway line project. The much awaited rail line project between Khurda Road Junction and Balangir, which was sanctioned in 1994-95, seeks to connect the western part of the state of Odisha with the coastal parts of the state through Khurda, Nayagarh, Boudh, Sonepur and Balangir districts. The new proposed bridge over the Tel river, will be built at an estimated cost of Rs 23 crore, according to a PTI report. The Tel river essentially flows in Odisha's Nabarangpur, Kalahandi, Balangir and Sonepur districts. It is an important tributary of Mahanadi river. According to ECoR, the proposed bridge is the longest bridge of the new railway line project. The confluence of the Mahanadi River and Tel river is about 2.50 km downstream from the proposed location of the bridge. During the peak of floods, there will be the influence of Mahanadi due to the merging of both the rivers across a very short distance without any appreciable bends. Due to this, it has been proposed to provide 17 spans of 45.70 m each during the construction of the bridge. For the same, Rs 350 crore has been allocated in the interim budget this year for the Khurda Road-Bolangir new rail line project. Around 66 km between the Khurda Road and Nayagarh stations has been commissioned from the Khurda Road side and the first stretch of 15 km from Balangir side has been completed, according to the report. Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off a train from Balangir side on the Balangir-Bichhupali route which would connect Bichhupali to Jharsuguda and Vizianagaram main line through Balangir. In addition to this, the Odisha government has formed a joint venture with the Ministry of Railways to implement the project. The project is proposed to be completed by May in the year 2021.