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Satellite towns on Buddha agenda

Calcutta, Sept. 14: Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and a team of officials will carry a wish list to Delhi this week that will need an immediate investment of Rs 612 crore to implement.

A committee of experts, led by urban development secretary K.S. Rajendrakumar, today picked projects from a large bouquet strung together by the CMDA for which the Centre's help will be sought.

Bengal hopes to speed up the schemes that will develop Calcutta's suburbs and other towns, under the megacity programme drawn up in the nineties, and help ease the population burden on the metro.

It is not known how much Delhi would contribute, if at all, but the norm under the megacity scheme is for the Centre, the state and financial institutions to share the burden 40:40:20.

A renewal of Howrah, Barasat, Barrackpore, Dum Dum, Hooghly, Serampore and Chandernagore towns ' covering 60 lakh people across 42 municipalities and three municipal corporations ' has been planned. It is expected that once the towns are developed, they will become the fulcrums of growth in the respective districts.

'Calcutta will have to be freed from the crushing burden. So, it is imperative to have the projects implemented fast,' Rajendrakumar said.

The urban development secretary and other department officials will head to Delhi shortly to obtain a green signal from the Centre, which conveyed to Bengal during the day that it is favourably inclined to the exercise.

Bhattacharjee will meet the Prime Minister on Saturday, carrying requests for funds and clearance of projects in Bengal's first blitz on Delhi.

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