Saturday, January 28

Skywalk boon for devotees

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An elevated pathway being constructed to link the suburban railway station in Dakshineswar with the Kali temple is likely to be extended to the upcoming Metro station, too.

The 380m-long pathway – being called skywalk – is likely to be unveiled in around three months, said officials of Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA), the implementing agency of the project.

“We have asked the Metro authorities to find a way out so that Dakshineswar Metro station can be linked to the skywalk. They have agreed to cooperate with us,” urban development minister Firhad Hakim told Metro.

The CMDA works under Hakim’s department.

Once the Noapara-Dakshineswar Metro link is ready and the skywalk is linked to Dakshineswar Metro station, a trip from New Garia in the far south to the temple in the extreme north will take less than an hour.

Work on the Noapara-Dakshineswar project has picked up steam since the Mamata Banerjee government started removing settlers from Rajivnagar in Belghoria in November 2017. The hutments in Rajivnagar had stood in the way of laying the tracks for the project.

The Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), which is building the 250m Metro link, has already started constructing the Dakshineswar station. The platforms have been cast and the steel structure for the overhead shade erected. Work on constructing the sidewalls had started last week.

Urban development department officials said a 200-ft gap had to be bridged to link the Metro station with the elevated walkway.

“There might be an additional exit at the Metro station to link it with the skywalk,” a CMDA engineer said.

“The elevation has to match. We also have to conduct a survey to find out the average weekday footfall at the temple.”

The integration of the skywalk with the suburban station is close to completion.

The temple on the eastern banks of the Hooghly, built by Rani Rashmoni in 1885, attracts around 1.4 crore devotees annually.

Pedestrians approaching the temple from the suburban or Metro station through the walkway will bypass the almost perennially clogged 10.5m-wide road leading to the gates of the shrine.

Devotees now have to struggle walking down the road, which is lined with stalls that have come up on pavements. “Once the skywalk is integrated with the suburban and Metro stations, the footfall at the temple will rise manifold. The temple is ready to handle that,” said Kushal Chowdhury, secretary of the Dakshineswar Kali Temple and Debottar Estate.

Hakim had recently met representatives of Kamarhati Municipality, Chowdhury and engineers of the company entrusted with building the 380m-metre-long skywalk to discuss the project.

Source: The Telegraph

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