On November 5, 2018, Kolkata saw the unveiling of the ‘futuristic’ Dakshineswar Skywalk, an elevated 340-metre-long and 10.5-metre-wide pathway made of glass and steel.
Completed at an estimated cost of Rs 60 crore, the Dakshineswar Rani Rashmoni Skywalk, consisting of 14 escalators, four lifts and staircases, has been constructed with the stated aim of easing the journey of tourists and devotees to the historic Dakshineswar Kali temple, which attracts 1.4 crore people annually.
The skywalk consists of 137 permanent stalls, where hawkers can set up their shops. While it was being constructed, the hawkers who had set up shop along the pathway below were ordered to shut down. Now, the state government has permitted them to reopen their shops.
Delhi-based Design Forum International (DFI), the architectural firm which was also responsible for the famous ITO skywalk in the national capital, was given the task of designing this skywalk. The execution of this project is courtesy of the West Bengal government, which delegated the task to the Kolkata Municipal Development Authority. Construction began in the latter half of 2016, and it was originally slated for inauguration during last year’s Durga Puja.
“The skywalk integrates the walking concourse, escalators and elevators with the railway footbridge, with separate lanes for motorised and non-motorised traffic,” according to the Free Press Journal. The project will ease pedestrian travel in this part of the city. Also, there are critical provisions for emergency evacuation with seven stairways present, besides the availability of basic fire safety tools like alarms and water sprinklers.
By constructing this skywalk, the West Bengal government seeks to improve tourist inflow, and also believes that it has the potential to become a tourist destination in itself.