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Civic body to take over parks

The Calcutta Municipal Corporation will take over the responsibility of maintaining around two dozen plots in east Calcutta that have long been used as parks or playgrounds.

The authorities want to preserve these plots — Rs1.5 crore has been allotted for the project — as precious patches of greens in the overcrowded neighbourhoods and to ensure that they are not grabbed by land sharks.

The shortlisted pockets include Tiljala, Topsia, Kustia, Picnic Garden, Natore Park, Kasba, Panchannagram, Chowbhaga, Kalikapur and Ajaynagar. The vacant plots in these areas measure between three cottahs and a bigha.

Officials said vacant plots in Behala and Jadavpur, too, would be taken over in phases.

“We have decided to take over the plots following pleas from residents. Since the entire east Calcutta belt is becoming overcrowded because of a realty boom, the vacant plots need to be preserved to provide fresh air to the residents,” said mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya.

“The CMC has taken over and beautified about 50 parks, playgrounds and ponds on private plots in the past three years. Beautification of east Calcutta is our top priority as infrastructure upgrade work under the Calcutta Environment Improvement Project has started there,” said municipal commissioner Alapan Bandyopadhyay.

Mayoral council member (parks & gardens) Faiyaz Ahmed Khan cited another reason for the decision to take over the parks and playgrounds: “We want to protect them from developers and prevent their misuse by local vested interests.” An official in the civic finance department said Rs 1.5 crore had been allotted for the preservation of the vacant plots.

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