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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Master plan for progress
- Varsity to steer 25-year blueprint

The city will finally have a development master plan, mapping a progress path for the next 25 years.

The Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) has engaged Bengal Engineering and Science University (BESU, formerly known as BE College) in Shibpur to steer the project.

'BESU's school of ecology and human settlement wing will act as the nodal agency in giving shape to the master plan. The feasibility study is expected to cost around Rs 1 crore,' mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya told Metro.

The funds for the feasibility report will be provided by the British government's department for international development (DFID).

'The CMDA had drawn up a broad development plan for the entire Calcutta Metropolitan Area (CMA) but since Calcutta is the core, the planning has to be different. So, we have decided to draw up a separate master plan on the city's development in consultation with academic and professional experts,' the mayor added.

Calcutta constitutes 187 sq km out of the total CMA area of 778 sq km.

Work on a feasibility study would begin shortly and the estimated project cost has been pegged at Rs 2,000 crore, said Bhattacharyya, adding that this was 'the first time in three centuries' that such a comprehensive development plan for the city was being drawn up.

'We have already sent a letter of intent to the vice-chancellor of BESU for carrying out a feasibility study in this regard and engaged Sunil Kumar Roy as our development adviser,' said municipal commissioner Alapan Bandyopadhyay.

'We have received the letter of intent from the CMC,' confirmed vice-chancellor N.R. Banerjea.

BESU officials said a team of experts to work on the feasibility report and then the master plan would be formed shortly.

'We are now busy with the feasibility report... The master plan will cover all aspects of the city's development, from basic amenities to utility services to aesthetics,' said Sunil Kumar Roy, former director-general (planning) of CMDA and visiting professor at BESU, who will act as project co-ordinator.

Municipal commissioner Bandyopadhyay said the first timeline would be six months for the feasibility report and the overall objective would be to 'minimise differences in availability of basic civic amenities and in quality of life among different localities'.

But where would the funds for this 'symmetry of development' ' especially in the added areas ' come from' 'The possible source of funds would be the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Project, soft loans from national and international funding agencies and joint venture projects with private parties,' felt Bandyopadhyay, adding that the funds hunt would begin after BESU submitted the feasibility report.

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