Wednesday, February 8

West Bengal allocates Rs 125 crore for skywalk at Kalighat

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The Mamata Banerjee government on Thursday allocated Rs 125 crore for the proposed Kalighat skywalk. The 450-metre long and 10.5-metre wide skywalk will be longer than the one at Dakshineswar which is 380 metres long.

The Kalighat skywalk, unlike the one in Dakshineswar, will pose several challenges to its implementing agency, KMDA, due to underground utilities, Metro services and relocation of hawkers teeming along the Kali Temple Road. “We are now coordinating with multiple agencies on the underground utilities,” said state urban development minister Firhad Hakim.

The cost estimation for the skywalk has been made based on a preliminary survey by KMC, Kolkata Police and KMDA.

The state government is likely to engage RITES to do a complete feasibility study before concrete plans are drawn up. The state government is planning to start work in March 2019. The project is likely to be over by October 2020. The Rs 65-crore Dakshineswar skywalk, however, had failed to meet its completion deadline thrice, leading to cost overruns.

According to plans, the skywalk will start at S P Mukherjee Road’s north-bound flank and terminate just off the Kalighat police station in the main temple complex. For devotees who are on the south-bound flank, sources said, a proposal has been made for a separate foot overbridge (FOB) that will connect the pavement along the Greek Orthodox Church to the skywalk entry point. Moreover, the skywalk will also have connectivity from both the Kalighat Metro station gates on S P Mukherjee Road.

Sources also hinted that talks are already on with the Metro authorities to get a preliminary assessment of the depth of Metro facilities underground. Similarly, KMC has also initiated work to understand the depth — and the extent — of underground utilities in the zone, including connectivity cables, drainage and sewerage lines.

The biggest challenge for the Mamata Banerjee government in implementing this project, however, will remain the hawkers. The chief minister on October 26 first broached the topic during the inauguration of the Soujanya convention centre at Alipore. Even on Wednesday, the CM had said that she was keen to set up the Kalighat skywalk, provided the hawkers were willing to shift. Rough estimates peg the number of hawkers here at 300-400. “Rehabilitation package will be considered for them. The government will hold talks with all stakeholders,” a senior official said.

Source: Times of India

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