The banks have been cleared for the funds from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Hudco to flow and make Calcutta’s waterways navigable once more. Mayor Subrata Mukherjee said on Friday that the clean-up along Tolly’s Nullah and Beleghata’s circular canal marked the first phase of a development thrust.
Government sources said that about 6,000 families would be removed shortly from the banks of the Tollygunge-Panchannagram Channel and the Chorial Khal, two major drainage outflows of the city. Altogether, 10,000 encroachers will have to be evicted from the various canal-banks to implement the city’s development projects.
The ADB is providing Rs 1,245 crore to improve the city’s environment, while Hudco is pumping in Rs 150 crore to dredge and clean the major outflow channels of the city. The British agency, Department for International Development, is providing a Rs 310-crore grant to the Calcutta Municipal Corporation for infrastructure management.
The projects funded by the various agencies include cleaning up of about 120 km of waterways and sewerage channels.
Asking municipal commissioner Debasis Som to undertake immediate repairs of the roads on either side of the Beleghata canal, the mayor said the Trinamul Congress-led civic body would leave no stone unturned for the city’s development.
The government, too, has begun to chart a progress path and woo investors to improve the industrial climate of Bengal.
“Now, with investments starting to trickle in, we have to provide the minimum infrastructure to those who want to help develop Bengal’s industrial scenario,” said Sudhansu Sil, CPM legislator and chairman of central tender committee of the CMDA. Sil all but admitted that it was imperative work in tandem to promote Calcutta. “We have to evict the encroachers. To provide the amenities to Calcuttans and those who are coming to the city to pump funds in the state, we have to do up the roads and ensure smooth traffic flow,” he added.
Trinamul leaders, too, admitted that there was an urgent need to provide Calcuttans with better civic amenities. “We just cannot go on increasing the civic taxes without offering a better quality of life,” said MLA Partha Chatterjee.
Promising a new-look Calcutta by 2008, mayor Mukherjee said that the city and its roads would be much more improved — “free from stench, malaria and waterlogging”.