The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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MP defends house boom

Calcutta, Nov. 24: Santiniketan is fast catching up with Calcutta, at least in terms of encroachment on government land.

Many people are buying such land and building houses, complained Somnath Chatterjee, CPM parliamentarian from Bolpur and chairman of the Sriniketan-Santiniketan Development Authority (SSDA) today.

“We have tried to stop this and even slapped fines and demolished some of the houses. But the problem is still there,” he said after the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the SSDA and the Bengal Peerless Housing Development Corporation here.

On the other hand, the SSDA has tried to meet the high demand for land by selling a large number of plots at “extremely reasonable rates”. “More people are going to Santiniketan to set up house there. The demand is very high… People go there to relax on the weekends,” he said.

Chatterjee was pleased that real estate firms had responded with housing and other projects in the township after the development authority advertised its plan to sell land.

In the same breath, he countered the argument that modern housing complexes were marring the tradition of Santiniketan. “On the contrary, our efforts to use vacant land for the projects has helped in the overall improvement of the place,” he said.

The MoU cleared the decks for the second phase of Sonar Taree, a housing project by Peerless. The foundation stone for the second phase — a Rs 15-crore project — would be laid on December 14. The company today paid 40 per cent of the land cost to the development authority.

Spread over 8.3 acres, Sonar Taree II will have 130 one-bedroom, two-bedroom and duplex units, said Kumar Shankar Bagchi, managing director of BPHDCL. The phase is scheduled to be completed within 20 months from the date of commencement.

“The ground coverage by the buildings is only 15 per cent while the rest of the land is left for greenery, sculptures, meditation centre and infrastructure,” Bagchi said. A seven-acre plot beside the complex will be afforested.

“The complex will be provided with a modern sewage treatment plant to avoid the hazards of septic tanks,” Bagchi said.

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