India finally attends to Infrastructure – Bangalore Airport, Dabhol power plant, Sethusamudram and Delhi Metro Line II – on a single day

In an interesting coincidence, four independent thanks happened on July 2 in India

At Bangalore, civil work started for the Bangalore International Airport at Devanahalli; a project that has been endlessly delayed; costing just Rs 1,100 Crores ($ 300 Million) it will be a small airport that will be short of capacity on Day 1, though for all of us in Bangalore, “something is better than nothing” and the Government that has been talking for ten years is finally starting something at least; thankfully there was no function, no speeches, no VIP and no controversy. One expects the Airport to be ready on April 2, 2008.

Not far from Bangalore, there was a big function in Madurai to mark the launch of the Sethusamudram project; this involves dredging work starting at Nagapattinam to create a 260-Km long canal that would permit ships to go around Indian Ocean without having to go around Sri Lanka, thereby saving hundreds of Kilometers of travel. This project would involve 100 Million cubic meters of sand removal over the next 3.5 years at a cost of Rs 2,427 Crores ($ 600 Million); ; with Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister it was a mega function with its share of speeches and controversy; with a possible negative impact to 20 million people one has to wait for the real benefits

There was another coincidence too; GE and the Government reached settlement on the controversial Dabhol project in Maharashtra; hopefully with settlement from Bechtel, another agency, the 3,000 MW power plant will be operated by NTPC soon, getting value out of the massive investments made already into this Rs 3,000 Crores ($ 750 Million) mega project

Finally, on the very day morning Sonia Gandhi traveled in Delhi Metro Line II from “Patel Chowk” Railway station to Rajiv Chowk Railway station by symbolically purchasing the ticket (hopefully purchasing tickets by politicians and leaders in India will become real in the near future). This is the Phase II of the 11 Km long Rs 2,200 Crores ($ 500 Million) project Delhi Metro, that has managed to deliver on-time performance; the stretch that was inaugurated would help 70,000 people daily.

On a single day (July 2, 2005) four such developments could take place – involving sea port, airport, power and transportation – augurs well for India.
One hope that UPA Government would quickly address the road bottleneck issues of Bangalore, airport issues in Bombay & Delhi and the larger electric power issues across the country.

With so much oil potential inside the country (Reliance oil discovery, Gujarat Petroleum’ recent findings and ONGC discovery in Godavari basin) it is time that a dramatic energy supply is created; it will change the face of India and help us to reach the “developed country” status even sooner than 2020 (the fond wish of President Kalam)

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