07/01/2009, 00.00
INDIA
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A new bridge named after Rajiv Gandhi opens in Mumbai linking Bandra and Worli

After five years of construction Sonia Gandhi inaugurates new Bandra Worli Sea Link which ties Bandra and western suburbs to the downtown area. The four-lane, 5.6 kilometre structure that stretches across the bay cost 16.5 billion rupees. Residents celebrate the new monument to progress which makes Mumbai a world class city.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Mumbai is remaking its image as India’s economic and industrial capital. As part of this it has inaugurated the Bandra Worli Sea Link (BWSL), a new bridge that links Bandra and the city’s western suburbs with Worli, an area in the southern part of India’s economic and financial hub.

Stretching some 5.6 kilometres, the four-lane structure was built using 90,000 tonnes of concrete.

For city and country it is a monument to progress that consecrates Mumbai’s international vocation, badly wounded by a terror attack on 26 November of last year that left 190 people dead.

The cost to build the landmark has been estimated at around US$ 340 million. Construction lasted about five years and had to overcome delays caused by some structural problems and protests by fishermen who make a living from the city’s bay and fear major economic losses.

Still the new bridge will enable drivers to cut travel time to the downtown area by 40 minutes.

After a last delay the BWSL bridge was inaugurated on Tuesday by Sonia Gandhi, president of the ruling Indian National Congress.

Following a proposal by India’s Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, the bridge has already been renamed Rajiv Gandhi Setu in honour of the late prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi’s husband, who was killed on 21 May 1991.

Maharashtra’s Chief Minister Ashok Chavan backed the initiative in favour of the new name, acknowledging the role played by the slain prime minister in the country’s technological development.

Mr Chavan also noted that Rajiv Gandhi was a Mumbai native and that the BWSL embodies the late prime minister’s vision for India’s future. (NC)

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