The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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At home with a golf course

Here comes yet another township, but with a difference. Here, golf courses, football fields and swimming pools will score over building facade, air-conditioned lobby or piped cooking gas.

Global Overseas Limited, a company floated in Calcutta, has signed a joint-venture agreement with the West Bengal State Council of Sports to build a 550-acre residential complex, with the accent on sporting activity. The site, which has already been selected at Bantala, close to the Calcutta Leather Complex, is around seven km from Science City. The agreement was signed on November 20.

Around half the total area has been earmarked for two 18-hole golf courses, football fields and various kinds of indoor and outdoor sporting activity, on land and on water. One of the golfing greens will be reserved for players on the circuit and one for tourists and amateurs.

“We are trying to bring in a new concept of living. We are in the process of roping in the best in the business to build a totally modern, sports-oriented, eco-friendly township,” said Vivek Bajoria, director of Global Overseas. A concept plan for the township, with 30,000 residential units, worked out by architect Dulal Mukherjee, is already in place.

Bajoria said Robert (Bobby) Trent Jones, an American with over 200 world-class golf courses under his hat, has already visited the site and okayed it. A past president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, he has designed the Spanish Bay course at Pebble Beach, California, the Meadow Springs course at Perth and the Wisley course at Surrey, England.

The budget estimate for the residential as well as the sports facilities is pegged at over Rs 1,800 crore. Explaining the financial components of the project, Bajoria said the funds for the residential portion will come from housing finance companies and the seed capital from the developers. The equity participation will be from financial institutions and the government share will be the land it will provide.

On the environment front, the project has conceived a sewage treatment plan with the help of natural aids like sunlight and algae. The water, drawn from underground, will be recycled for use in the golf courses, the football fields and the landscaped stretches.

Laxman Singh, former Asian Games gold-winning golfer who is also on the Global Overseas board, said no township in India offers the kind of facilities the new complex will provide. “This will be an ideal place for people who want a healthy mind in a healthy body, as sports will co-exist with eco-friendly industry.

According to the promoters, the sport facilities like swimming, polo, soccer, hockey, volleyball, gymnastics and all manner of indoor games will be accessible for a nominal fee to outsiders as well. The idea is not to build something grand and exclusive, but to genuinely promote sporting activities among as many as possible, they say.

A deputy secretary of the sports department said the details of the project were still being worked out. He, however, said the state government would like to have a say in how to utilise the complex for sports promotion and to hone local talent.

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