Cross the bridge ...

.. when it is built, and irrespective of what it is called - that is what I say.

For a few days now, the media has been harping about the new bridge connecting Bandra and Worli over sea. It has been hailed as an modern engineering marvel, and much is being written about naming it as "Rajiv Gandhi Setu". I am happy that it is finally complete, and I am convinced that it is an engineering marvel, and is going to help the people in Mumbai, despite the sceptics.

But while reporting this feat, I think the media failed to mention / undermined that the 5.6 km bridge took over 10 years to build for various reasons, raising the cost considerably. I can't help but compare similar infrastructure projects in our neighboring country - China. Hangzhou Bay Bridge connecting Shanghai and Ningbo over sea is 35.6 km long (the longest of it's kind) and was completed in a little over four years. Donghai bridge, which is another bridge over sea and is 32.5 km long, was developed in less than three years. Similarly, while we struggle to complete the railline from Jammu to Srinagar, China already has a train service from Beijing to Lhasa, Tibet, and a motorable road all the way to Everest Base Camp. I know there is no direct competition here, but my point is if they can do it, we must try to learn from them and do it on time too. In case we don't want to admit that others can manage projects better, what about looking at how the Delhi Metro project was done?

About naming the bridge: Nothing against Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, or Mr. Bal Thackeray, or Shivaji, or really, whoever they want to name it after. But why are we so insistent on naming any project after a person? Even when a bridge is named after legends, people usually call them by a convenient name. Case in point: Howrah bridge connecting Howrah to Kolkata is almost never referred to as Rabindra Setu, it's official name. Same goes for Vidyasagar Setu, again connecting Howrah and Kolkata, which is referred to locally as the "2nd Hooghly Bridge". It's not that people don't respect Rabindranath or Vidyasagar; it's quite the opposite - but I think people don't care to call a bridge after people who had nothing to do with the bridge!

Internationally, the few examples of landmark bridges that comes to mind are also named after the location or nearby landmarks. Golden Gate Bridge goes over the "Golden Gate" of San Fransisco. Millau Viaduct is near the town of Millau in France. Brooklyn Bridge connects Manhattan to ... you guessed it... Brooklyn. Tower Bridge in London is near the Tower of London. Sydney Harbor Bridge is obviously.... the list goes on and on. Why can't we just leave "Bandra-Worli Sea Link" to be simply "Bandra-Worli Sea Link"?

10 comments:

Aarbee said...

I agree on the name bit. Sometimes this obsession goes too far.

Anuradha said...

Just to add , you forgot to mention how long the Cal. Metro took to be operational!!

The name thing reminded me of all the MG Road's I have visited even in the smallest towns in India :)

B. O'Hemian said...

@RB
Yup

@Anu
Right... Kolkata Metro extension to Garia, mostly over a canal (so minimum land acquisition) is being delayed for years! Oh, yes, M. G. Road!

~ ॐ ~ said...

Us bridge ka naam rakhte hain, safed puliya... or this in marathi

white paint hai na us par?

and I think its a waste of time doing the comparison, though somewhere inside myself I feel we should do that! I see how things move here, how one see the money paid in taxes being utilized for infrastructure development and sustainence... And the same seems to be missing in India...

MPs talking about Z category security for someone who has probably never done anything for the country... he is so fkking important!

Bhai system mein itna flaw hai that its scary to think how a change would happen ! :/

AKS said...

lovely post... like that naming part and yes it seems some study has gone into finding the facts here...

B. O'Hemian said...

@Prashant
I know :(

@Aseem
Thanks.
Most basic facts were from Discovery / I knew them - so knew what to look for in Google :)

Butterfly said...

For a long time, I didn't even know that 2nd Hooghly Bridge is actually Vidyasagar Setu because I had heard(and still hear) everyone referring to it as 2nd Hooghly Bridge! And, if someone ever calls those two bridges 'Rabindra Setu' or 'Vidyasagar Setu', it takes a few minutes for me to realize which structures they are referring to!

I guess, after some days, Rajiv Gandhi Setu will be called 'Worli Bridge'....

B. O'Hemian said...

@Butterfly
Exactly :)

Rohit Talwar said...

Initially it was funny, but after all these years, reading the same name issues in newspapers makes me mad. Can we please kill them all and use the goddamn bridge?

B. O'Hemian said...

@RT
Killing won't solve the problem. You know in Hindu mythology, there is this demon, whose blood falling on the ground gave birth to another clone of his?