India's first sea bridge, which was thrown open to traffic in this financial capital on Tuesday, will be named after former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan announced in Mumbai.
Chavan's announcement was in response to a surprise demand to this effect by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
"Rajiv Gandhi was born in Mumbai, he was a son of the soil and it will be appropriate that the bridge be named after him," Pawar said in his speech at an inaugural function.
Amidst thunderous applause, Chavan accepted Pawar's suggestion and made the announcement on the dais at the Rang Sharda Auditorium, Worli, where the official inauguration function was held after the bridge was thrown open by United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson and Rajiv Gandhi's widow Sonia Gandhi.
Called the Bandra-Worli Sea Link (BWSL), the 5.6-km bridge on the Arabian Sea cost Rs 1,634-crore ($16.34 billion) and the authorities hope some 150,000 vehicles will use it each day for a toll that ranges between Rs 50 and Rs 100 per trip depending on the size of the automobile.