Image: Ajit Gulabchand, chairman,Hindustan Construction Company
Ajit Gulabchand is not fond of the arclights, but he shed his reluctance for once – just like a proud father would do in the company of his famous child. So Gulabchand was happily posing for the cameras in blue jeans and black blazer, but only after making sure that the photographers had the two central towers of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link in focus.
The occasion was a press conference to explain the contours of the spectacular project a day before Congress President Sonia Gandhi formally opened Rajiv Gandhi Setu, to give the link its official name, to the public.
Gulabchand’s rare exuberance was understandable; Hindustan Construction Company (HCC), of which he is the chairman and managing director, has never done anything like this before.
So he was busy telling anybody who had the time to look away from the breathtaking sight of the Arabian Sea below that the pylons of the cable-stayed bridge are 126 meters high, equivalent to a 43-storey building; it has 37,680 km of wire, nearly the circumference of the earth; and weighs 670,000 tonnes, about as much as 50,000 African elephants.
It was almost like a doting father reading out the formidable CV of his accomplished child.
For a change, he was not willing to talk about the protracted dispute between the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation and HCC over the cost escalations owing to repeated design changes. Clearly, the 61-year old businessman didn’t want anything to take away the spotlight from his crowning glory – the 5.6 km bridge that has changed Mumbai’s skyline forever.