Dakshineshwar skywalk to be opened by February 2018
Kolkata: The skywalk to Dakshineshwar temple will be thrown open for pilgrims by February 2018. However, the trial run is expected to commence in the month of December. State Urban
Development minister Firhad Hakim paid a visit to the site on Saturday to monitor the progress of work.
"I have made it clear that safety, security and quality should be given top priority and there should be no compromise on these three aspects," Hakim said.
It is learnt that the minister expressed his displeasure over the progress of work with the state government hopeful of opening it to pilgrims before Kalpataru Utsav, an annual religious festival observed every year on January 1.
A senior official of Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA), the implementing agency said that the agency Adhunik Infrastructure associated with the structural job of the skywalk had attributed heavy rain during the monsoon behind the delay in construction work.
RITES, that has been entrusted with the quality checking of the skywalk, had been doing thorough checking of the iron structures time to time to ensure that quality is not at all compromised with. The minister also chaired a meeting with senior officials of RITES, Adhunik Infrastructure and other concerned officials. Secretary of the Dakshineshwar Temple Committee Kushal Chowdhury was also present in the meeting.
Hakim assured that the road leading to the shrine that has been damaged due to heavy rain will be repaired on a war footing.
The Rs 65 crore-project will not only ease traffic congestion but will also ensure a uni-directional clash-free movement of devotees, visiting the Dakshineswar Kali Temple. The temple draws 1.3 crore devotees including foreign pilgrims annually.
Designed by architecture firm Forum International, the 10.5 metre skywalk will offer a seamless connectivity to and from the temple. It will be bridged with elevated Dakshineswar stations — both suburban and the Metro.
The crystallised design structure has 12 escalators, four elevators and eight staircases to ease the walk for the senior citizen, the poor in health and specially-abled persons. The skywalk will also have space for 200 shops.
Built in 1855 by Rani Rashmoni, the temple became one of the biggest spots for Hindu pilgrims because of its association with Bengal's one of the greatest ascetic saints Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.
Though it draws pilgrims round the year, the only point of access is a single 10.5-metre wide road that thousands of locals use for their commute. Shops and kiosks that have sprung up over the years have also forced pedestrians off the sidewalks and onto the road. The road thus remains heavily congested particularly on festival days.
"The skywalk will surely be a solution that the pilgrims have been eagerly looking for," a KMDA official said.