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All eyes on high five

Up & Coming

Calcuttans can look forward to the following:

Park Street flyover

Taratala flyover

Bondel Gate flyover

Dum Dum underpass

Extension of Prince Anwar Shah Road up to EM Bypass

EM Bypass, from Ultadanga to Chingrihata, to be six-lane from four-lane, and a service road along it

Extension of EM Bypass up to Baruipur

Construction of Barasat overbridge taking off

Widening and uplift of Canal East Road (BT Road to Maniktala Main Road)

Widening and improvement of Maniktala junction

Widening and improvement of Park Circus (from the tram depot to Mullickbazar)

Widening and improvement of Lockgate Road (along the Lockgate and Cossipore flyovers)

Widening of Rashbehari Avenue (from Triangular Park to Sarat Bose Road) and dereservation of tram tracks.

Building blocks

The ongoing buoyancy in the sector will be sustained, with the construction boom growing and spreading. And for once, the spotlight is on the other side of the Hooghly, with twin Indonesian companies ' the Salim and Ciputra groups ' building a township in west Howrah at a cost of $350 million, the single largest foreign direct investment in the housing sector in the country.

Construction of the 10-year project, on over 400 acres of land, starts today.

With the Batanagar township also poised for a complete makeover, the city should finally begin to grow in all directions.

The third phase of Hiland Park, on the Bypass, is set to be commissioned, marking the completion of the 956-apartment highrise complex, made famous by the city's tallest tower (30 floors).

Still on the Bypass, another high-profile condominium residential complex, Silver Spring, should be ready by the year-end, with 500 apartments next to ITC Sonar Bangla Sheraton & Towers.

Work on South City, the mega mixed-use lifestyle project on Prince Anwar Shah Road, will also pick up pace, as will Sherwood Estate and a few other large-format properties across town.

Shopping spree

If the Calcutta shop-stops started coming into their own in the year that was, the racks will only grow bigger and brighter in the year ahead.

The narrow-format mall is where most of the action will be. Following in the footsteps of marriage mart Shagun and build bazaar Homeland, other specialised malls are in the offing, covering various segments. Both the Ambuja group and the Shrachi group are planning narrow-format malls in New Town, Rajarhat.

Metropolis, the giant mall inside Hiland Park, is slated for a full-fledged launch in April, with one of the anchors, Big Bazaar, already up and running. Shringar will be the other anchor, with a four-screen multiplex, while Crossword will set up its second store inside the same mall.

Metropolis will also house factory outlet stores of Raymond, Planet Sport and Primus, selling United Colours of Benetton, Levis and Dockers.

Westside will unveil its second outlet in town inside the Gariahat mall, which will house another C3 as well.

The PAM shopping plaza and another Big Bazaar on Rashbehari Avenue should be commissioned in the course of the year.

Fort Knox, the city's first dedicated jewellery mall, will unveil itself, adding new sheen to the fast-changing Camac Street skyscape.

Work on the South City mall on Prince Anwar Shah Road and Mani Square and Forum II on EM Bypass will also get underway.

Travel time

Indian Airlines will augment its fleet. Forty-three new aircraft will be added all over India, with Calcutta on the list of beneficiaries, too.

The city international airport will finally get busier, with Malaysia Airlines taking off from January 29 with three flights to Kuala Lumpur, and Gulf Air adding a third weekly flight.

On the domestic front, Air Deccan plans to make Calcutta the eastern-region hub by February, with 20 daily flights to and from destinations like Ranchi, Patna, Jamshedpur, Agartala and Dibrugarh, followed by metros like Mumbai and Delhi.

On track are Eastern Railway projects like the new 13.5-km Kakdwip-Namkhana line, the Gurap-Shaktigarh (Howrah-Burdwan chord) third line over 25.42 km, Phase I of the Habra-Maslandapur double-line project, the 15-km project for Sonarpur-Champahati-Ghutiarisharif, extension of platforms to 12-coach length, shifting of signals, points and crossings at Howrah-Bandel, Sheoraphuli-Tarakeswar'

Extension of the Prinsep Ghat-Majerhat-Dum Dum Cant. Circular Railway line to the airport is also on the cards.

South Eastern Railway will focus on the Bankura-Chhatna-Mukutmanipur line and the Bankura Rainagar section till Sonamukhi.

Big screen

If you thought 2004 was all about Bollywood invading town and leaving us starstruck, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Mira Nair will camp in Calcutta February onwards for her screen adaptation of Jhumpa Lahiri's Namesake, bringing with her two ends of the Bolly spectrum in Abhishek Bachchan and Irrfan, with Konkona Sen Sharma for company. Mandira Bedi should pad up for an extra innings with a cameo in husband Raj Kaushal's first Bengali film, No Poblem.

February will see Aparna Sen leave start-and-stop 2004 behind her and begin shooting in Bhutan for her next English feature film, 15 Park Avenue, with Shabana Azmi, Konkona and Rahul Bose.

Yash Pandit and Manjari Phadnis, the lead pair in Arindam Chaudhuri's Rok Sako To Rok Lo, will be in Bolpur to shoot for Anjan Das' Ranir Ghater Brittanto by March-end or April.

Rituparno Ghosh is not yet decided about his next venture. All that he knows is that it'll be his second Hindi venture after Raincoat and that it will star Aishwarya Rai.

In reverse flow, Bhowanipore girl Koel Mullick will ride into Mumbai on an AB Corp chariot.

Buddhadeb Dasgupta will fly to Varanasi, and then London, in September to shoot for his next feature film.

In the halls, Shyam Benegal's Netaji: The Last Hero will be Calcutta's claim to the big Bollywood release pie.

Back in Tollywood, Buddhadeb Dasgupta's Swapner Din, starring Prosenjit, Rimii and Raima Sen, is to hit the screens after travelling to the Toronto Film Festival.

Also waiting in line is Anjan Dutt's Bow Barracks Forever, featuring Lillete and Neha Dubey, Victor Banerjee, Moon Moon Sen and more.

With the multiplex movie-going explosion bringing the curtains down on several standalone halls, choose your screen and grab some popcorn.

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