On Sunday, Bengal may not have been among the states whose tableaux rolled down Raj Path during the Republic Day Parade in New Delhi, but people from the state could identify with at least one of the display-laden vehicles. It was the tableau of the Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port Trust (SPMPT) that was Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) ti-ll recently. After all, modern-day Kolkata was built around its port facility, the largest in the country at that time.
This was the first time that the port of Kolkata participated in an R-Day Parade and not without reason. Born on October 17, 1870, SPMPT, comprising the Kolkata Dock System (KDS) and Haldia Dock Complex (HDC), completes 150 years this year. It is the oldest operational port in the country.
“It was a tough selection process lasting over two months. We were guided by the ministry of shipping but nearly all ministries of the government of India had sent in proposals. It took a lot of effort on the part of the team from Kolkata port, under the guidance of Vinit Kumar, chairman, SPMPT. After the beginning of the docks at Kolkata, the first ship that arrived at Kidderpore was in 1892. Since then, the Kolkata port witnessed stages of modernisation and is today equipped with the latest technology in cargo handling and riverine navigation enabling it to service even cape-sized vessels,” a senior official said.
The tableau highlighted the vibrant history of the country’s oldest operational port. The front of the tableau had the replica of an old ship with sails, reminiscent of vessels that arrived when the first docks were being built. There were also replicas of the historic light house and clock tower. A model of the Rabindra Setu adorned the mid-section of the display. Rabindra Setu is one of the city’s finest engineering and architectural icons built and maintained for the last 76 years by SPMPT. The 200-tonne cantilever crane in KDS was also highlighted. This crane played a vital role in handling imports for the heavy engineering industry and more recently the Delhi Metro Coaches. In the rear portion, an animated model of the motorised Bascule Bridge was displayed.
Source: Times of India