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Basu springs to project defence

Calcutta, June 14: Jyoti Basu, who flagged off the Silver Spring project on Tuesday, has stepped in to clear the path for the construction of the city’s largest and most expensive condominium.

On Thursday, the environment department had slammed the brakes on the project, a joint venture with the Calcutta Municipal Corporation, saying it had filled up waterbodies on the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass plot.

After a meeting with the promoters, environment minister Manab Mukherjee had said the Rs 100-crore project on the eight-acre plot next to ITC Sonar Bangla hotel could not resume till the authorities obtained a no-objection certificate from the Pollution Control Board.

But yesterday, the former chief minister summoned Mukherjee to his Salt Lake residence to find out why the project had been stalled and to “remove all apprehensions” about it.

“I strongly feel that the project should come up as this will be one of the city’s most important landmarks in the coming days. Those passing through Calcutta must be impressed by seeing the proposed project on the bypass,” Basu said this afternoon.

“Manab (Mukherjee) told me that the promoters had violated environmental rules by filling up waterbodies. I don’t know whether the allegations are correct or not. But this is a lame excuse and the work should not be stopped for this. And that is why, I have asked the minister to go through the details of the project submitted by the promoters and then get on with it,” the former chief minister said.

Basu said he would speak to chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee after he returns from Italy. “The promoters got me and (transport minister) Subhas (Chakraborty) to formally launch the project. I am certain they must have the government’s nod before inviting us there.”

Fisheries minister Kiranmoy Nanda echoed Basu and said he was not against the project. “I have examined the map and other details submitted by the promoters; the allegations about filling up waterbodies are not true.”

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