PM Modi to inaugurate Atal Pedestrian River Bridge at Sabarmati River


Sabarmati: Last week India celebrated 75 years of independence and on the same day the iconic Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad also celebrated a decade. Keeping in mind the interest of tourists and visitors, another attraction has been added with the construction of a pedestrian bridge between Ellis Bridge (Swami Vivekanand Bridge) and Sardar Bridge. This 300 meter bridge which connects the east and west sides of Sabarmati Riverfront will be inaugurated on Saturday by Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This bridge will provide connectivity to the multi-level car park and various public amenities on the East Rim and West Rim, from the plaza between Flower Park and Event Ground on the West Rim to the proposed art/cultural/exhibition center on the east shore. The bridge which is unique in its design – both technically and visually – will also raise the status of the Riverfront as well as the city and become an engineering marvel. Connection of the city with the Sabarmati River Ahmedabad has always had a strong association with the Sabarmati River which flows from the center of the city. Prominent institutions and industries were built around this river in the mid-twentieth century when this city was emerging as a textile center of India. Around 1915, Mahatma Gandhi also built his ashram on the west bank of this river. For years, the river was the city’s only source of water. But due to rapid industrialization and population growth, the ecological health of Sabarmati began to decline after 1950. Looking at this grim situation, one of the first Sabarmati project proposals came from Bernard Kohn, a French architect who lived in the city around the 1960s. In the years to come, several committees were formed but their efforts had some shortcomings. However, Narendra Modi, who became Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2001, trusted Dr. Bimal Patel, a well-known architect who shaped many of Modi’s dream projects over the years. Planning and Delivering Amdavad Municipal Corporation (AMC) had already formed a special purpose vehicle, the Sabarmati Riverfront Development Corporation Limited (SRFDCL), to undertake the waterfront development. The Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO), a large agency National Infrastructure Fund, also granted a loan for this project. But the most crucial factor was the political will of Narendra Modi and the SRFDCL board of directors which included various members of the bureaucracy, political representatives of the AMC, as well as professional and technical specialists. Initially, the council did the feasibility test and appropriate planning was considered taking into account factors such as: making the riverside accessible to the public; control the flow of wastewater and preserve the pollution of rivers; reduce the risk of erosion; building parks and riverside promenades; improving connectivity between the east and west sides of the city; and rejuvenate the surrounding settlements. The pilot project began in 2004 and thereafter much of the resettlement work was implemented to ensure no one was affected. Land acquisition process also caused some delay in the project but today Sabarmati Riverfront has become the identity of Ahmedabad. After years of strategic planning, consensus-building efforts, and major infrastructure improvements, the city has been revitalized. More sustainable alternatives have been proposed to divert treated wastewater from treatment plants. During the inauguration of the walkway and water rides in 2012, Narendra Modi dedicated these projects to the people of India. Place of cultural heritage In a short time, the edge of the Sabarmati River has acquired cultural importance for the residents. The project which aimed to provide Ahmedabad with a meaningful riverside environment along the banks of the Sabarmati River and redefine an identity of Ahmedabad around the river has been very successful. The place not only signifies sustainable development, but also brings people closer to nature. Fitness enthusiasts often come here for morning walk and jogging. People also celebrate events and festivals here. Desh Gujarat


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