The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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IIT team to draw up Burdwan Vision 2025

Durgapur, Dec. 19: Having drawn up a 'vision' document for Calcutta and its neighbourhood, the government has embarked on a similar exercise for Burdwan.

Architecture and planning experts of IIT Kharagpur will draw up Vision 2025.

A six-member IIT team led by architect B.K. Sengupta has already started a survey across 2,600 sq km, covering areas under Burdwan and Asansol-Durgapur development authorities. It is expected to submit a plan for industrial, commercial, educational, infotech, urban and rural development by February.

'Without proper planning, it is impossible for the authorities to undertake big projects. The survey being conducted now will help us select land and location for upcoming projects,' said Subrata Gupta, the district magistrate and chief executive officer of the Burdwan Development Authority.

Gupta said: 'If we allow setting up of a factory on fertile land, it will hamper farming. If we set up an IT hub in the coal belt, the threat of subsidence would constantly hang over it. We need to know the demographic, social and economic details of particular areas.'

A CPM citadel, Burdwan is the rice bowl of Bengal.

The place where peasants' leaders like Benoy Chowdhury and Harekrishna Konar initiated land reforms after the Left Front came to power in 1977 also houses DVC, Durgapur Steel Plant, Indian Iron and Steel Company and Durgapur Projects Limited, once industrial showpieces.

Now, with the government showing a renewed zeal to take the state to an industrial highway, Burdwan is back to the centre of focus. The development road map will not only turn around the district from an industrial low that it experienced with the closure of giants like MAMC and Hindusthan Fertiliser but will also help the CPM hold on to its base.

In a preliminary presentation, the IIT team has said the area under Asansol-Durgapur Development Authority ' from Panagarh to Barakar, covering about 1,600 sq km ' has at present a population of 25 lakh, which is likely to go up to 50 lakh in 20 years. Creation of urban land and communications networks, education, commercial and hospitality facilities and generation of electricity is essential to cater to the burgeoning population there.

N.S. Nigam, the chief executive of the Asansol-Durgapur authority, said the experts have divided the area under it into three zones. 'Durgapur town and its adjacent areas have been chosen for an educational and IT hub. Asansol town and its neighbourhood have been chosen for commercial activities and the Ranigunj-Andal-Jamuria coal belt has been reserved for mining.'

Pollution in the industrial areas will also come under scrutiny. Along with the identification of pockets for creation of urban space, the survey will emphasise protection for forests and farming.

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