Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday inaugurated the country’s longest sea bridge Atal Bihari Vajpayee Sewri-Nhava Sheva Atal Setu’ which connects south Mumbai with the satellite city of Navi Mumbai, and said the completion of the ₹ 17,840 crore project was the reflection of a changed India.
When he laid the foundation stone of the project (then called Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link (MTHL)) which had faced a lot of roadblocks on December 24, 2016, he had resolved that the country would change, the PM said at the program near Navi Mumbai, noting that the bridge’s construction got completed despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
The six-lane trans-harbour bridge is 21.8 km long with a 16.5 km sea-link.
“(Earlier) People were fed up with mega projects getting stalled and had given up hope that such projects would ever be completed. It was Modi’s guarantee that the country will change,” the prime minister further said.
Before 2014, mega scams were a topic of discussion while now mega projects getting completed is a topic of discussion, Prime Minister Modi said, adding, “Dreams are coming true ten years later. The sea bridge is a reflection of ‘Viksit Bharat’ (developed India).”
The upcoming Navi Mumbai International Airport, Mumbai coastal road, AURIC (Aurangabad Industrial City) in central Maharashtra’s Marathwada region, the Mumbai-Delhi Industrial Corridor and the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project will boost Maharashtra’s economy in the years to come, the prime minister said.
The Atal Setu was an important part of his government’s “Viksit Bharat Sankalp” (resolve to make India a developed country), he said, adding that not just the country but the whole world was “looking at the bridge.” Each mega project is crucial for the country’s development, PM Modi said, adding, “For us, it is not a day’s event or something for publicity in the media”. The projects he launched in the Mumbai region on Friday were linked to “rail, road, metro and water,” he said.
The Maharashtra government was implementing the “Modi guarantee” of women’s welfare and empowerment with its ‘Lek Ladki’ and ‘Mukhyamantri Nari Shakti’ empowerment schemes, the prime minister said.
Everyone is marvelling at the Atal Setu, Prime Minister Modi said, adding that the amount of steel used in its construction would suffice to build four Howrah Bridges and six Statues of Liberty.
The sea bridge brings Raigad, Pune and Goa closer to Mumbai, Prime Minister Modi said, while also thanking the Japanese government for its financial assistance for the project. “I remember my close friend (former Japan prime minister) the late Shinzo Abe (at this moment) as we both had resolved to complete the project at the earliest,” he said.
“We cannot see the Atal Setu from a narrow perspective. It is a symbol of the aspirations which India had dreamt in 2014. When I got the responsibility of leading (the BJP) in the elections in 2014, I visited the Raigad fort and spent time at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s samadhi (memorial) there, seeking blessings to convert those aspirations into reality. The dreams are coming true in ten years,” Prime Minister Modi said.
“Atal Setu is the reflection of Viksit Bharat which will see the development of all, where distances will decrease,” he added.
The MTHL project was conceived several years ago but it was completed by the BJP government, the prime minister noted, adding, “My government has prioritised the welfare of the poor as well as (execution of) mega infra projects because of our ‘niyat’ (intentions) and ‘nishtha’ (commitment). Our ‘niyat’ is clean and ‘nishtha’ is for the country’s progress and development. Whereas the previous government’s intention was to care for vote bank politics and fill up their own coffers, and their commitment was to their family members and not to the country,” Prime Minister Modi further said.
The infrastructure budget was increased from ₹ 12 lakh crore to ₹ 44 lakh crore after he came to power, the prime minister said.