The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Growth code for Salt Lake
- Masterplan in pipeline to check building spurt in added areas

After Calcutta, it is Salt Lake’s turn to grow. The state government, with the help of Bidhannagar Municipality, is now drawing up a masterplan for the added areas of Calcutta’s satellite township.

“If we do not take up a comprehensive plan for the added areas of Salt Lake at once, it could cause a serious problem,” state urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya told Metro on Sunday.

“There is an unplanned mushrooming growth in the areas. It has been observed that many buildings do not have sanctioned plans and there are some that have been built on government land,” the minister added. He will soon convene a meeting with the Bidhannagar Municipality authorities, the North 24-Parganas district magistrate and the area’s superintendent of police.

The township’s added areas comprise three wards (14, 22 and 23), with around 50,000 residents. “The mapping of ward 22 already exists on paper and the mapping of ward 23 has just been completed. Ward 14 remains to be mapped,” said Dilip Gupta, chairman of Bidhannagar Municipality.

“The land-use pattern of the area has to be established first so that we can implement plans to build roads and other infrastructure. Once the masterplan is complete, we can bring the areas on a par with the other areas of Salt Lake,” added Gupta.

There are plans to set up two secondary schools in Sector III, for which two plots have already been earmarked.

Although the added areas are part of Salt Lake, the ground reality is quite rocky there, since the sections under wards 14 and 23 were once governed by a panchayat, officials said.

While claiming that several development projects had been undertaken in the area, they admitted that the absence of a comprehensive plan was the stumbling block to systematic growth.

“For example, the drainage system has been rendered ineffective in some places, with buildings coming up on the sewer lines,” a municipality official pointed out.

The municipal authorities are also planning to build a work-shed to implement a variety of self-employment schemes of the government. There is growing pressure on the CPM-controlled municipality from within the ruling party to change the existing land rules of the planned township and help unemployed youth set up small business units at home.

“The land-use pattern in the township has been fixed and it is not possible to change it now. But if the masterplan for the added areas can be formulated soon, a lot of unemployed youth can be allowed to benefit from the self-help schemes,” said a civic official.

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