The state government stands accused of sitting on pleas for funds to shift the South 24-Parganas district headquarters from Alipore to Baruipur, highlighting yet again how the poor health of its finances is holding up crucial projects.
The last time money was released for the project was in December 2010, when the Left Front was in power, said a source in the CMDA which has been entrusted with setting up facilities at the Baruipur site.
“We had written to the government in October, asking for funds. There hasn’t been any response yet,” said a CMDA official. The agency had also verbally taken up the matter with the personnel and administrative reforms (PAR) department a number of times, but allegedly without any result.
Several senior officials in the CMDA said they had not heard anything about the project since Trinamul came to power in May 2011.
Asked why the funds are not being released, a PAR official said: “All decisions are on hold because of the panchayat polls.”
The proposed integrated headquarters in Baruipur would be a boon for the people of South 24-Parganas, who now have to run from one place to another for official work.
“Most of the departments are in Alipore. Some are in Baruipur and Salt Lake. The multiple locations inconvenience people,” said former CPM parliamentarian Sujan Chakraborty, who was part of a group set up by the erstwhile Left government to plan the shift. “Besides, unlike Alipore and Salt Lake, Baruipur is well-connected with all parts of the district through rail.”
The plan to relocate the headquarters was mooted in the early 2000s. “The CMDA had taken possession of 500 acres in Baruipur’s Kalyanpur in 2008 to set up a township. Of the acquired land, 130 acres had been earmarked for the district headquarters,” said an official.
The agency had initially asked for Rs 570 crore for the project. The state planning board cleared the project in 2010 but cut the cost down to Rs 423.70 crore. By the end of the year the government released Rs 18 crore, till now the only instalment for the relocation.