Saturday, January 28

Pre-Kali Puja opening for Dakshineswar skyway

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A 340-metre long skywalk that will take visitors to the Dakshineswar temple gate will be thrown open before Kali Puja. The Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) submitted a “fitness certificate” for the project to Calcutta High Court on Tuesday.

Railways consultancy RITES had inspected the skywalk as a superviser for the project.

The agency has, after checking the design of the structure and witnessing a load test, declared the elevated walkway “ready for use”.

“We will inaugurate the skywalk before Kali Puja. The date of inauguration will be decided soon,” said Firhad Hakim, urban development minister and the chairman of CMDA.

Rites had submitted its report to CMDA, which in turn submitted it before Justice Samapti Chatterjee of the high court on Tuesday. Justice Chatterjee has been monitoring the progress of the project.

The 10-metre-wide walkway would be of immense help to visitors to the temple. “Earlier pedestrians and cars would use the same road. It was chaotic. The skywalk will give visitors a separate space. Cars, too, would have a dedicated road,” said Kusal Chowdhury, trustee and secretary of Dakshineswar Kali Temple.

About 40,000 devotees visit the temple on non-festive days and the footfall increases three-fold on Kali Puja. The temple was set up in the 1940s and opened to visitors in 1855.

Once the skywalk is thrown open, no pedestrian will be allowed to take the road below, a CMDA engineer said.

The skyway has seven stairways for emergency evacuation and is fitted with fire safety tools such as alarms and water sprinklers.

The skywalk would have 14 escalators — seven each for going up and coming down. There would be four lifts, each with a capacity to carry 20 people. “The portion of the pavement leading to the elevators has been designed in a way that physically challenged people would be able to take wheelchairs to the elevators without trouble,” the CMDA engineer said.

The CMDA has also developed Rani Rashmoni Road, running below the skywalk. “Two paths have been built on two sides of the road for nonmotorised transport such as bicycles and rickshaws. Each path is two metres wide. In the middle, a 5.65m-wide bituminous path has been built for motorised transport,” the CMDA engineer said.

The project was planned in 2014 but work couldn’t begin before 2016 as the Rani Rashmoni Road Dokandar Samity, the hawkers’ union near the temple, had moved high court to challenge an evacuation notification issued by urban development department.

Source: The Telegraph

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