Kolkata: The Indian city of Kolkata will soon have its own version of the famous ‘London Eye’ Ferris wheel.
This comes after the National Green Tribunal ruled in favour of the West Bengal state government’s projects, directing the Port Trust of India to give the necessary permissions.
It has been a dream of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to turn Kolkata ‘into London’.
As part of her efforts to fulfil the vision, she plans to create the tourist attraction.
Environmental activists objected to the idea, saying construction on the banks of the Ganga river would severely damage its fragile ecosystem.
The Green Tribunal ordered an environmental impact assessment, which was conducted by Sun Consulting and Investment — the British firm that has been engaged by the state government to run the project for 30 years.
Seeing the report, the approval for constructing the Ferris wheel has been granted.
But some activists are still not convinced.
“I am not against development, but not at the cost of the environment,” said well-known green activist Subhas Dutta, who had petitioned the court.
“Unauthorised construction on the banks of the river has ensured that its banks are eroding every day. Such a huge construction could have affected the banks severely and hence stressed on a proper environmental impact study on the same,” Dutta added.
Named the ‘Kolkata Eye’, the Ferris wheel is expected to have 36 air-conditioned capsules made of steel and glass, which can each accommodate up to eight people.
The gigantic Ferris wheel will rotate slowly to offer a bird’s-eye view of the city from a height of 129 metres.
It would take around 30 minutes to make a full circle.
“It will be an icon of the great city of Kolkata and will enrich the ongoing riverfront beautification project,” Banerjee had told Gulf News in 2014, when the project was first commissioned.
Albeit two years late, the city will finally see the construction of the Ferris wheel, which it says will be one of its kind in the country.
“We are happy that the National Green Tribunal has agreed to allow the Ferris wheel. Our chief minister cares more the environment more than anyone. If there was any chance of affecting the banks she would not have done it,” said minister-in-charge State Urban Development Department Firhad Hakim.
“The project is fully automated project will have zero waste discharge on the river. Almost 90 per cent of the project area will remain a green zone,” said Sudip Datta, COO, IL & FS Infrastructure, the firm that has been appointed as an adviser to the project.