Construction of the elevated viaduct of the Joka-Esplanade Metro section has finally begun in front of the majestic Alipore mint building. Objections by the Union ministry of finance, which owns the mint, concerning security and removal of the row of bottle palms that adorns the front of the building had earlier threatened to jeopardise the entire project.
Now that the project has been cleared, a row of new palm trees will be planted. This will clear the way for the construction of piers that will hold the viaduct.
The earmarked periphery of the mint will be pushed back by nearly seven metres. Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), the executing agency of the project, has already put up corrugated steel barricades at the designated spots so that the construction work does not disturb the mint’s activities or breach its security. RVNL is also planting the new full-grown palm trees so that the mint building does not lose its original look.
The ministry of finance had in 2011 expressed reservations against construction in mint’s vicinity. It took a long time for the ministry to issue a no-objection certificate. The ministry of railways assured the finance ministry that its security will never be compromised. Subsequently, RVNL remained cautious while starting construction work. It is first reconstructing the walls of the premises before starting work on the stretch.
One of the biggest issues was the removal of the current row of palm trees along the trajectory of the viaduct. RVNL executive director (Metro) Rajesh Prasad said, “Initially, we wanted to transplant the existing trees. We brought in experts and horticulturists, who assessed the trees in the current rows to be very old with well entrenched and extended root networks. Because of this, the chances of their survival would are very low. This is why we decided to plant young, but full-grown palm trees that will be brought from nurseries.”
“RVNL is aware of the aesthetic and architectural splendour of the complex, so we are re-constructing the wall immediately after pulling it down to carve out the construction site,” an RVNL officer said.
As many as seven piers will come up in front of the mint. During the construction, one of the ornate twin-dome gate might suffer damages. That sandstone dome will be restored to its original state, following the construction of the piers and the viaduct.
Source: Times of India