The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Catch Howrah Bridge all aglow
- Contract awarded to Philips to illuminate landmark in three themes; special treat during festivals

Calcutta, Feb. 25: Come September and the Howrah Bridge will sparkle like a jewelled tiara every night, joining the ranks of the Tower Bridge of London and the Sydney Harbour Bridge as an illuminated bridge.

Calcutta Port Trust, which maintains the 62-year-old landmark, today awarded a contract to Philips to light up the city’s most recognised structure.

The lighting will have three modes or themes ' energy-saving, normal and festive. About 500-700 advanced technology lights in three colours 'white, yellow and magenta ' will be strung around the bridge and, when switched on, will be visible from 2 km away.

In the energy-saving mode, both the pylons, the sidewalks and the outer structures will be lit up, displaying the profile of the bridge. In the normal mode, the inner structures, too, will be illuminated. During festivals, lights of all three colours will be switched on.

Going by the port trust chairman’s promise, that will happen during the Pujas this year.

“The project will be complete before the Pujas. This will be our festival gift to the city. The lighting will be a permanent feature on the bridge,” A.K. Chanda told The Telegraph.

The port trust will have to foot a Rs 3-crore bill, including the cost of the lights and the connections from CESC. The lights will be switched on or off through a timer.

“We have simulated the lights and colour combinations in a computer, but we need an idea of how it will actually look. Theatre personality Tapas Sen has been made adviser to the project; he will advise us on the aesthetics of it,” a senior port official said.

Biswajyoti Joarder, chief architect designer of Philips, said it was a challenge to design the system.

“We will have to keep the lights diffused enough so that they do not disturb motorists. We have also kept in mind that the reflection in the river should look good,” Joarder said.

Philips has decked up the Tower Bridge and Sydney Harbour Bridge apart from the Eiffel Tower of Paris as well as many forts in Rajasthan.

After the lights are installed, the company will maintain them for two years. After this, the port trust will hire agencies for the job under yearly contracts.

The port trust is also considering a light-and-sound show, describing the course of the Hooghly and the history of the bridge as well as the cities of Calcutta and Howrah.

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