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View from the top

The Telegraph Salt Lake gets the first look from the Biswa Bangla Gate viewing gallery
The Kolkata Gate lit up at twilight.
The Kolkata Gate lit up at twilight.
Sounak Banerjee

Sudeshna Banerjee   |   Calcutta   |   Published 28.09.18, 12:28 PM

The circular viewing gallery of the Biswa Bangla Gate, popularly known as the Kolkata Gate, will open only after the gate gets a structural fitness certificate from IIT Kanpur. According to sources, that can happen only after the Pujas.

The institute has done a wind tunnel test on a prototype in which cyclonic weather is mimicked to estimate stress and strain on the structure. “They will give us the report soon,” said Housing and Infrastructure Development Corporation (Hidco) chairman cum managing director Debashis Sen. RITES is also conducting its own fitness study.

A US-based start-up is using artificial intelligence and four gyroscopic sensors on the structure, that has two steel arches crisscrossing at 55m above ground, to measure the effects of vibration through big data analysis. “They are getting and using signals from the sensors. Steel has to be allowed to vibrate to an extent, otherwise it would crack. They are studying the patterns and trying to analyse to what extent the vibration should be considered normal. If the vibration is at dawn, it could be due to trucks moving underneath or if it is in the afternoon it could be because too many people have climbed the viewing gallery or are crowding one side of it. In case of the latter, we need to know at point to intervene and control the situation,” said Sen.

Initially, there was a 10-minute lag on the alert. “But that might be a costly delay in an emergency. We need real-time alerts. They have now brought it down to almost instantaneous response. Their analysis will be handed to structural engineers,” Sen said.

He pointed out that the gate, as visualised by the chief minister Mamata Banerjee, was unlike any other gate. “Be it the Gateway of India in Mumbai, the India Gate in Delhi or the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, famous gates are all rectangular arches. This, in contrast, is a cross-section of two inverted parabolas,” he pointed out.

“People say after the Howrah bridge, there has not been any engineering marvel built in Calcutta. This is one such, which citizens can take pride in.”

The accompanying pictures are by Sounak Banerjee, an award-winning photographer who stays in Rosedale Garden, New Town and is the founder of Calcutta School of Contemporary Photography, City Centre



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