bandra-worli-sea-linkA decade after its conception, the Bandra Worli link has been firmly established. The link was inaugurated at the hands of UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi. During the ceremony organized later, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar proposed that the link be named after Prime Minister. After nine years of construction, the Bandra-Worli Sea Link was finally thrown open to commuters. The first of its kind in the country, the 5.6-km link, conceived in the 1990s, promises to cut the 40-minute crawl from suburban Mumbai into downtown to a seven-minute ride hopefully relieving commuters of an agonizing trek from Bandra to Worli. The gates to a faster, pleasanter commuting experience were unlocked by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. Prior to the inauguration, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar along with Parliamentary Affairs Minister Harshvardhan Patil arrived to inspect the link and spoke to MSRDC officials about the functioning of the toll system. Later Sonia Gandhi inaugurated the bridge in the presence of Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, Dy. Chief Minister Chagan Bhujbal, Union ministers Sushil Kumar Shinde, Vilasrao Deskhmukh, Ghulam Nabi Azad and a host of other Ministers of the union and state cabinet. After the formal inauguration, a coconut was thrown into the sea, as per the tradition of Marathi fisherfolk, “to calm the rough sea”. The opening bell, which was scheduled for midnight was however rung only the next morning at 7am- much to the disappointment of the crowd thronging the gates. In a ceremony held later, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar in a shrewd political move to bridge the gap between the NCP and Congress proposed that the Sea Link, be named after former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. On the other hand Chief Minister Ashok Chavan immediately accepted the proposal of Sharad Pawar. He also announced that the ride on the link will be free till Sunday. UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi thanked Sharad Pawar for his suggestion and dedicated the sea link to the citizens of Mumbai. Although the bridge plans a total of eight lanes, as of now only four lanes have been opened. The other four are under construction. The initial speed permitted on the link is 50 kmph. CCTV will keep a close watch on vehicles. With cameraperson Abhay Prasad, Zeba Warsia for NMTV News.

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