From bus depot to gem hub. Manikanchan, the five-acre gem and jewellery park in Salt Lake’s Sector V, is burgeoning fast. The rush of investors at the industrial park, home to dazzling diamonds and glittering gold ornaments, has spurred major expansion plans. The government is looking at another five acres, at least, to woo manufacturers, according to Gopal Krishna, managing director of West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC).
The first phase of the project, that will accommodate about 28 manufacturing units, is almost ready. Manikanchan has already been notified a special economic zone (SEZ), a “specifically-delineated, duty-free enclave, deemed to be foreign territory for trade operations, duties and tariffs”.
Twenty of the 28 units have already been booked. Booking started in July 2002 and the last was made on Wednesday, said sources in the WBIDC, which is developing Manikanchan.
It is not feasible to locate an SEZ in two different spots, as an industrial park must be a contiguous set-up, pointed out Krishna. So, it is imperative that the WBIDC acquire space adjacent to Manikanchan. “The North Bengal State Transport Corporation owns a three-acre plot, vacant but with some encroachments, beside Manikanchan. Another two acres are being used by the West Bengal Surface Transport Corporation as a bus depot,” Krishna said.
“Going by the export potential of the sector and customer response, we foresee a demand for space at Manikanchan. For that, it is necessary to acquire the adjoining plot. Construction will start by November 2003,” he added.
The WBIDC will bear the cost of relocating the bus depot. The state transport department is considering the proposal.