The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Buddha frown on plot plans
- Salt Lake projects shelved

Salt Lake may be a builder’s paradise, with commercial complexes, government offices and housing blocks coming up side by side. But not any more, with the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government frowning on the real estate boom. According to highly placed sources, the chief minister has decided to directly intervene in the use of vacant plots in the township.

“The chief minister has recently vetoed two proposals for the use of vacant plots in Salt Lake and its added area,” a senior official of the state urban development department said.

The Bidhannagar Municipality had proposed to set up a college on a 53-cottah land in Sector IV on the Salt Lake Bypass in Sukantanagar. “The proposal has been shelved as the chief minister wants to keep the land for some other use,” the official said. The Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) had earlier proposed to set up a supermarket on the land. CMDA senior officials and engineers had surveyed the land a few years ago to finalise plans for setting up the market.

Civic body officials said the municipality had sent a proposal to the state government for setting up a co-education college. However, pressure from local CPM leaders forced the municipality to oppose the proposal and CMDA’s plan fell through.

Another major plan stalled is a joint venture project in Salt Lake’s Sector I. “There is a proposal to set up a commercial complex-cum-town hall in Sector I. The land for the joint venture project is yet to be identified,” an official of Bidhannagar Municipality said, adding that the project is far from being finalised.

However, official sources said Bhattacharjee had expressed his dissatisfaction at the project.

The chief minister reportedly said the project would get a go-ahead only if some government institute or undertaking was involved. “He has opposed making any private organisation a part of the project,” an official said.

Civic officials are tightlipped over the issue. Municipality chairman Dilip Gupta refused comment.

However, the development has created ripples within the CPM. “It has been our long time demand to set up an educational institute in the added area,” a local DYFI leader said on condition of anonymity. “There is no college here and it will be unfair to use the land for any other purpose,” he said.

In a meeting held on Monday, the municipality officials have requested the state government to clear the proposals which are stuck. “We do not know when these problems will be solved,” an official of the municipality said.

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