The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Southern site for Nandan twin
- Buddha asks for Dhakuria bus stand to set up culture complex

The high priest of culture is all set to gift south Calcutta a mini-edition of his earlier brainchild, Nandan.

The information and cultural affairs department is working on a proposal to beautify and develop a 12-cottah vacant plot off the Dhakuria bus stand. The driving force behind what is being billed as a Nandan-like complex is chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who holds the cultural affairs portfolio.

According to officials, Bhattacharjee has already discussed the project with state urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya, so that the Calcutta Improvement Trust (CIT), which owns the plot, hands it over to his department for beautification.

“Our plan is to develop the unused square adjoining Madhusudan Mancha into a Nandan-type complex, which will become the meeting point for art and theatre-lovers. Though this will be smaller than Nandan, it can emerge as an alternative cultural hub for the people of south Calcutta and the city’s southern fringes,” said Arun Bhattacharya, principal secretary of the information and cultural affairs department.

According to him, the CIT has already been urged to hand over the plot, on which a modern information centre, an exhibition hall, an underground parking plaza and a centre selling government publications could come up.

Anil Das, chief engineer, CIT, admitted having received the letter from Arun Bhattacharya regarding the proposed culture complex. “The land on which a condemned and dilapidated bus depot is located was handed over to the CIT by the transport department. We have no problems giving the land to the information and culture department,” he added.

Director of culture Tapan Bandyopadhyay maintained that the proposed complex would meet “a long-standing demand” from the people of south Calcutta. Theatre personality Bibhas Chakraborty, who is a member of the Madhusudan Mancha advisory committee, has decided to launch a campaign in favour of the proposed complex. “We have already made a representation to the chief minister, requesting him to develop the abandoned plot,” he added. Kaustav Tarafdar, administrative officer of Madhusadan Mancha, said the project would help “clear and beautify” the theatre’s approach and façade.

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