The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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DLF on top in township race

Calcutta, July 10: In the first truly big-ticket realty deal in Bengal, the DLF group has won the contract to develop a township at Dankuni, offering Rs 2,713 crore for nearly 5,000 acres.

“There is no point not acknowledging that DLF’s was a stunning offer, though befitting the scale of and the vision guiding the Dankuni project,” said a government official associated with the project.

Promoted by Kanwar P. Singh, DLF ' one of India’s largest real estate companies ' will make an upfront payment of 10 per cent of the offer as soon as the deal receives chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s green light, a formality.

The other top bidder was the Emmar-MGF combine, which in April hit the headlines by bagging a six-acre plot for a hotel off the bypass by paying Rs 213 crore. Zee TV promoter Subhas Chandra’s Suncity also made a high bid.

In a signal that Calcutta-based developers are simply unable to compete with outsiders, two local bids amounted to Rs 774 crore and Rs 231 crore.

“We thought we would get somewhere quoting Rs 35,000-40,000 a cottah,” said a senior executive of one of the bidding companies.

“But DLF pushed us all out of the race by quoting something in the region of Rs 80,000 a cottah.”

The Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA), which floated the global tender for development of a modern township at Dank- uni in Hooghly district, about 20 km from Calcutta, will use the proceeds to build flyovers and bridges, lay roads and other infrastructure in the city.

A five-member committee, appointed by the CMDA, today opened the bids and picked the winner.

As planned, DLF will create an industry hub over 1,000 acres, and housing stock, shopping malls, multiplexes, entertainment facilities and commercial space on the remaining 3,800 acres.

The Dankuni deal, which ushers in a new price benchmark, is fraught with political and other implications.

Going by signs in the Left Front, the government is likely to face a demand from within the coalition for adopting the same global-tender approach to the proposed township at Baru- ipur and the superfast highway in South 24-Parganas for which it is in talks with Indonesia’s Salim Group.

Already the party has taken critical notice of the award of the West Howrah international township project to the Salim Group without inviting competitive bids.

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