The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Govt agencies sit up to steer Saltlec uplift

The growing discontent over poor infrastructure and civic services at Salt Lake’s Sector V (Saltlec) has prompted the government to form a monitor body, comprising officials of the urban development department, CMDA, Salt Lake municipality, Webel and representatives of the companies.

A ‘special status’ tag is also in the pipeline from the planning and development department for chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s IT hub.

“Activities are expanding at the complex, with a number of entrepreneurs setting up units. Many more are under construction. We have to improve the infrastructure to cope with the expansion. We have sanctioned Rs 6 crore for the purpose and will allot more in future,’’ said urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya on Friday.

According to officials, four government departments and agencies are involved in the activities at Sector V.

The land, owned by the urban development department, has plots allotted to IT units and a large chunk of land has gone to Webel, under the industries and commerce department.

The Salt Lake municipality is responsible for the sector’s civic services, that have for some time now been a cause for complaint among occupants and visitors.

“The monitor panel will coordinate between the government departments and agencies, take up projects to improve infrastructure and sort out the problems of the entrepreneurs,’’ the minister said.

The consortium will be formed after a meeting with all the departments and agencies concerned. A joint corpus will also be set up, to which all the agencies and departments will contribute for development work.

“Sector V is now established as the IT hub of the eastern region and is the centre of attention. We have decided to look after the development of the area in a comprehensive way to ensure all facilities to the investors,’’ planning and development minister Nirupam Sen said.

Saltec, developed by Webel, a nodal agency for IT projects, stands on 400 acres. Of the area, 155 acres are under Webel jurisdiction, while the urban development department controls the rest. Webel has allotted plots to 175 units, and the urban development department to about 159.

“There is no sewerage system nor drinking water supply, which are most essential for any estate like this. Besides, the roads are broken and ill-lit. If the situation does not improve, no new unit will come here and many will shift their business,’’ said Ajayendra Mukherjee, chief of Tata Consultancy Services.

Head of Cognizant Technology Solutions Siddhartha Mukherjee said the IT units were trapped in the pass-the-buck between Webel and the Bidhannagar Municipality. “We are working here with poor infrastructure,’’ he added.

Webel managing director S.K. Mitra admitted the complaints were true.

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