Kolkata monuments don French colours in memory of Paris victims

Kolkata monuments don French colours in memory of Paris victims
Showing solidarity towards those killed in last week’s grisly Paris terror attack, two of the city’s iconic monuments - the Victoria Memorial and the Shaheed Minar - have been illuminated in the French national colours.

“It’s our humble attempt to show solidarity with all those who lost their lives in the attack and express concern on the growing magnitude of terrorism across the globe,” Victoria curator Jayanta Sengupta said.

Sengupta said the monument dedicated to the memory of Queen Victoria will remain illuminated in the French tricolor for a week.

The Shaheed Minar was erected in 1828, in memory of Major General Sir David Ochterlony, commander of the British East India Company. It was re-dedicated to the memory of the martyrs of the Indian freedom movement in August 1969.

The coordinated Mumbai-style bombings and shootings in the French capital on November 13 killed 129 people and injured some 350 others. While people from all walks of life took out candle-light vigil post the attack, a minute’s silence was observed during the inauguration of the 21st edition of the Kolkata International Film Festival on Saturday to pay respects to the terror attack victims.

In related news, HIDCO has decided to build a 55-metre replica of the Eiffel Tower to commemorate the 129 victims of the November 13 terror attack in the French capital. The structure will come up at Eco-Park, a favourite of chief minister Mamata Banerjee. The spot has been chosen to showcase the best of Bengal’s artworks and is fast emerging as a major tourist attraction.

“This will be the first such model of the Eiffel Tower in India,” Sushim Banerjee, the director-general of the Institute for Steel Development and Growth that has prepared the architectural and structural designs of the Eiffel prototype, said. “It will be a giant steel structure nearly as tall as an 18-storey building. Had it not been located on the path of flights taking off and landing at Dum Dum, we could have tried to build an exact replica,” Debasish Sen, chairman of HIDCO, said.

The foundation stone of the project will be laid on Sunday by urban development minister Firhad Hakim. 

The Consul General of France in Kolkata, Damien Syed, has been invited to the event. The structure is being erected to express solidarity with the victims of the Paris terror attack and for world peace.
It will take three years to build the tower after the work order is issued, a senior HIDCO official said. At least 300 tonnes of steel will be required to build it. The tower will sport a steel grey colour.

The structure at Eco-Park will have two tiers where people can go up and stand to catch a glimpse of the town below. The viewing gallery will be at a height of 25 metres. There will be two lifts to carry the passengers. “There will be a coffee shop and a souvenier shop too,” Sen said. Eiffel Tower is one of the most popular tourist attractions of the world. The 324-metre structure was erected in 1889 and has never ceased to charm tourists.

“The decision was taken soon after the Paris attack and received superfast clearance from the state government. We will float a tender soon to select the agency that will build the structure,” Sen said. “The base of the structure will rest on 650 square feet,” said Banerjee.


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