The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Buddha sings praise of private purse

Calcutta, Sept. 16: Carrying forward its promise of involving the private sector not just in housing but in every sphere of civic infrastructure, the government today unveiled a cabinet policy document on the public-private partnership model it wants to follow.

“We have seen how well the joint-sector model works in housing, and there is no reason why it can’t be replicated in other core segments,” chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said after inaugurating the first phase of Hiland Park, a joint-venture highrise residential complex with the Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority. Urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya formally released the policy paper at the programme.

“Had the state gone alone, we could have met only 10 per cent of the existing demand in the housing sector. But joint-venture projects with private partners like the Ambujas, Peerless and Shrachi have enabled us to address the issue on a more satisfactory scale and save house-hunters from the clutches of unscrupulous promoters,” the chief minister added.

The state will now invite private participation in other infrastructure areas like roads and bridges, garbage clearance, treatment and recycling, drinking water and satellite townships. “With a population of six million, Calcutta is bursting at the seams and we would like to expand the city through well-formatted satellite townships like Salt Lake and New Town, Rajarhat,” Bhattacharjee said.

The government is considering a proposal from the Singapore Chamber of Commerce to participate in the proposed townships in Dankuni and west Howrah, according to the chief minister, who reiterated the state’s commitment to creating more housing for the middle and lower-income groups through cross-subsidy.

Lauding Calcutta Metropolitan Group, the developers of Hiland Park, for creating a “value-added property to house nearly 4,000 people”, the chief minister said Metropolis, the retail mall inside the complex, will boost the city’s “booming” retail scenario. A cheque for Rs 24,75,000 was handed over to Bhattacharjee as the first instalment of first-phase profits due to the CMDA.

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