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Firhad Hakim

Giving away 90m of land near Dakshineswar Metro station unreasonable, says Firhad Hakim

Subhajoy Roy, Debraj Mitra | Published 14.01.24, 05:53 AM
Firhad Hakim

Firhad Hakim

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Giving away 90m of land near Dakshineswar Metro station would mean pulling down a portion of the skywalk that goes to the Dakshineswar Kali Temple, Firhad Hakim, the state’s urban development minister, said on Saturday.

Hakim called the Metro Railway’s present demand for land as “Tughluqi (unreasonable)” because the central agency had not objected to the construction of the skywalk despite being consulted.


Hakim said Metro Railway’s current proposal would lead to a situation where the road going to Dakshineswar has to be shut down.

The railways should have raised an objection when they were consulted before the construction, Hakim, who is also the chairperson of the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA), said at a news conference on Saturday.

Metro Railway officials had said on Friday that they had written to the KMDA for 90m of land near the station in Dakshineswar.

“Dakshineswar has a problem. There is a space constraint. There is no space after the platform ends. So, there is a speed restriction. We want to extend the length,” Metro general manager P. Uday Kumar Reddy told a news conference on Friday.

Hakim was responding to Metro Railway’s request for land.

“We took an NOC (no-objection certificate) from Metro during the construction. They gave us their drawing. It is then that we built the skywalk spending so much money. Now they are saying pull down the skywalk,” Hakim added on Saturday.

“We could have sat down and done an alternative planning. There is no more land left there. Do I shut down the road going to Dakshineswar? The plan that Metro is now proposing will lead to a shutdown of the road in Dakshineswar. Do we stop the entry of vehicles there?” Hakim said.

The 340-metre skywalk that takes visitors to the Dakshineswar temple gate just after getting out of the Metro Railway station was thrown open around Diwali in 2018. The road below the skywalk was cleared of hawkers who were given stalls on the skywalk.

Sources in the carrier said two more piers must be built on the road below for the extension.

Trains usually move at an average speed of 55km an hour on the Noapara-Dakshineswar stretch. But just before entering Dakshineswar, the train has to decelerate and then start moving at 15kmph. This is done to minimise the risk of any accident.

There is a buffer at the end of the viaduct, in the form of an iron structure. It is barely 40m from where the platform ends.

Reddy told The Telegraph on Saturday that the problem was not anticipated at the
time of the skywalk’s construction.

“At the time of construction, this problem was not anticipated. With increasing headway and rising number of passengers in Dakshineswar, a need is being felt to revisit the design,” he said.

“But whatever we do, we will do in coordination with the state government,” he added.

Metro Railway sources, however, blamed the Railway Vikas Nigam Limited
(RVNL), the implementing agency of the Noapara-Dakshineswar corridor, for the problem.

“The RVNL did not apply their mind. They took shortcuts. All that was needed was 90m of space. The viaduct should have been longer from the beginning,” said a senior official.

Calls to Amit Roy, the executive director of RVNL, went unanswered.

Last updated on 14.01.24, 05:54 AM

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