After the sound and light show, the iconic Howrah Bridge could have a dynamic screen
An innovative beautification project is being considered for Rabindra Setu (popularly known as Howrah Bridge), who launched a sound and light show to illuminate the iconic bridge on the award winner’s birthday Nobel in October 2019. The Kolkata Port Trust—now called Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port Trust (SPMPT)—considered setting up a giant mesh screen on the bridge, much like a billboard but without the bulky flexible panels and ugly, which could be used to advertise social posts and other visuals and can be seen from afar.
The SPMPT, in collaboration with a private entity, is in the process of mobilizing central funds for the project.
“In our first phase, we spent Rs 17 crore. Right now we have computer-controlled dynamic lighting. On different occasions, different types of lighting are possible,” said Vinit Kumar, President of SPMP.
According to Kumar, lighting would be increased in the second phase. “There will be big lights at the top of the bridge and there will be a giant net-like screen in the middle. An always-on screen won’t look good, so this sharp screen. When enabled, it can display social posts or small clips,” he said.
The project also plans to include the development of an app that can be used to listen to the audio that accompanies on-screen messages.
Kumar said the second phase of the project could cost around Rs 35 crore. The SPMPT reportedly presented the project to the Union Ministry of Culture for funding. It would be “continued” once the ministry approves funding, he said.
Meanwhile, the SMPPT was also working to make night navigation possible on the river. Ships can sail at night to Sagar or Haldia, which are far from the city, but must wait until nightfall to enter the city’s port.
With night navigation in place, ships will be able to save considerable time. The first phase of night navigation could be rolled out within the next three months, Kumar said. According to him, approaches including the acquisition of software that can be personalized to guide ships at night were being studied.
The port, with its double berth systems at Kolkata and Haldia, handles over 3,000 vessels and has a capacity of over 87 million tons. The cargo handling share for the port is 8-9% of the total of all major Indian ports; in 2021-2022 ranked sixth in terms of cargo handling.