Millennium Post

Dakshineswar Skywalk to be unveiled ahead of Kali Puja

Kolkata: The Dakshineswar Skywalk is expected to be thrown open for pilgrims visiting Dakshineswar Temple, a day before Kali Puja. If everything goes as per schedule, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will unveil the skywalk on November 5.

A senior official of Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA), the implementing agency, said that the skywalk is getting finishing touches and the load testing safety certificate for the structure has already been received.

It has been learnt that after the certificate was received, state Urban Development and Municipal Affairs minister Firhad Hakim sought time from Banerjee and the November 5 date was fixed for unveiling.

"Thousands of devotees visit the temple on a daily basis. During Kali Puja and the Bengali New Year, the gathering increases threefold. So, safety has been given top priority," the official added.

The skywalk project, which involves a whopping Rs 65 crore, will not only ease traffic congestion but will also ensure smooth unidirectional movement of devotees visiting the Dakshineswar Kali Temple. The temple draws 1.3 crore devotees including foreign pilgrims annually.

Designed by architecture firm Design Forum International, the 340 metre long 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 skywalk is expected to have 12 escalators, 4 elevators and 8 stairways, particularly for the benefit of senior citizens, the unwell and the handicapped. The skywalk will also have space for 200 shops.

Dakshineswar Temple draws pilgrims round the year and at present, the only point of access is a single 10.5 metre wide road which thousands of locals use for their commute.

According to a source in the temple committee, the foundation and 150 year history of the shrine has also been encapsulated in the form of a light and sound show. The project is also scheduled to be inaugurated by Banerjee on the same day.

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