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Advani sets date for city ghat face-lift

New Delhi, Nov. 28: Calcutta’s dowdy riverfront could soon rival Mumbai’s jazzy Marine Drive, courtesy deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, who once upset Calcuttans with his comment: “I don’t like Calcutta as much as I’m impressed by the Metro.”

Advani today assured rebel Trinamul Congress leader Sudip Bandopadhyay that a comprehensive package for cleaning the stretch from Baghbazar to Prinsep Ghat, which includes 39 ghats, and its modernisation and beautification will be announced on January 12, the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda.

After meeting Advani, Bandopadhyay said the package, being devised by the ministries of shipping, railways and tourism, will be in place by January 15.

The deputy Prime Minister has taken up the matter with shipping minister Ved Prakash Goel and tourism minister Jagmohan. At Advani’s behest, Bandopadhyay met Goel on October 24 to discuss the action plan. He has also held talks with railway minister Nitish Kumar and is planning to meet Jagmohan next week.

Bandopadhyay has urged a meeting between the Eastern Railway general manager and the Calcutta Port Trust chairman at the earliest to secure funds for the upkeep of the ill-maintained circular railway tracks.

Goel wrote to the CPT chief on November 9, asking him to submit a proposal to the shipping ministry. The port trust will be the implementing agency of the package.

Bandopadhayay said he had also taken up the issue of modernisation of the circular railway in the consultative committee meeting of the railways on November 13.

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