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CIMA Gallary

Sops to shore up sale of finance hub plots

The Mamata Banerjee government has decided to tweak the eligibility for land in New Town’s financial hub and throw in some extra sops to kindle interest in a project that has held little attraction for buyers so far.

Promoter Hidco had advertised in newspapers and held roadshows in Delhi and Mumbai to woo companies to the hub, “inaugurated” once each under Left Front and Trinamul rule.

Sources said Hidco’s New Town office hadn’t received a single expression of interest since Mamata flagged off the initiative in March.

“The deadline for applications for the first phase of the project is October 31. After going through the applications, we will take a look at how to attract more companies to the hub,” urban development minister Firhad Hakim told Metro.

Some might find the reference to “more companies” misleading. All three confirmed occupants of land in the financial hub — Allahabad Bank, SBI and the Calcutta Stock Exchange — scooped up their respective plots when the Left Front was in charge.

Hakim said three other companies, including UBI and SREI, had “agreed” to come. “The board members of Dena Bank and Yes Bank are discussing the possibility of investing.”

Hidco couldn’t confirm any such development. “An application needs to be submitted along with earnest money of Rs 25 lakh. We haven’t received earnest money from any company yet,” a senior official said.

Hakim blamed the economic slowdown for the delay in companies responding to the financial hub. “If required, we will make a few changes to make the offer more interesting, depending on the demands of the financial industry,” he said.

One of the proposed changes is increasing the area of the financial hub so that companies have enough land for residential quarters. “Many institutions have said they would need separate space for housing. We need to make sure these requirements are met,” the Hidco official said.

The government intends reaching out to companies in Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad as part of the second phase of promotion. The safety clause in each agreement will be that no plot can be used for real estate.