Updated: January 28, 2019 12:32:46 am
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday inaugurated a 5.1-kilometre long cable-stayed bridge across the Mandovi River here. Named Atal Setu after the late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the bridge was built with central assistance.
At the function, Chief Minister Parrikar, in a public speech after months, said he saw Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari as his “hero because of the Golden Quadrilateral project”.
Gadkari, who unveiled the plaque for the new bridge said, “The execution of the complete work of the bridge is a fulfilment of Manohar Parrikar’s dream.”
No mention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was made in the five-minute speech by the CM although Modi laid the foundation stone for the bridge in 2014. Parrikar said the idea of a good road infrastructure was an inspiration he took from a speech of John F Kennedy.
“After I became the Chief Minister, I read a sentence by American President John F Kennedy that said ‘America’s roads are good because America is rich. But Americans are rich because roads are good’. The sentence had an impact on me as a child and it came back to me when I became the CM,” he said and thanked Gadkari for facilitating central funds for the completion of the bridge.
Urging the people of Goa not to oppose projects that benefit the state, Parrikar told the people, “Be positive. That is my only message to you today.”
“I told him (Parrikar) that I am a minister and I will provide funds. Parrikar later came to me again and said the state was short of funds. I worked it around again, and half the cost for civil construction was funded through NHAI. There were many obstacles, but they were overcome. Parrikar gave an example of his willpower and offered Goa a state-of-the-art bridge,” said Gadkari.
Gadkari recounted projects undertaken by his department, including bridges and the four-lane project between Goa and Mumbai. “Considering Goa’s significance as a tourism destination, public transport that runs on electricity has viability in Goa. With Shripad Naik (North Goa MP) and Manohar Parrikar’s efforts, work on Goa’s new international airport has begun. He told me to construct an eight-kilometre road that leads to the airport. I will get it done. I wish Goa gets a facility similar to the one in Venice, where you can travel by water to the airport,” said Gadkari.
“But water transport does not seem to be clicking in Goa. I have put in a lot of effort, but now am exhausted and I have given up,” he said.
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