The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pressure panel for pet projects
• East-West Metro
• Shalimar railway terminal
• Chitpur Terminal
• Modern water treatment plant
• Arsenic removal plant
• Solid waste management (French-aided) project
• Mapping of cities
• Underground sewer lines and renovation (with foreign funds)
æResumption of Ganga Action Plan
• Construction of eight railway overbridges
• Eight underpasses
• Construction, widening and beautification of riverfront roads
• Special grants for transport infrastructure development

Spying a “friendly government” at the Centre, Bengal’s ruling communists are ready to resume lobbying for projects they had conceived for Calcutta’s development, but could not push through “owing to lack of support from Delhi”.

On Sunday, Writers’ Buildings officers said three important members of Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s cabinet — transport minister Subhas Chakraborty, urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya and housing minister Gautam Deb — were asked to list all the pending projects, worth around Rs 3,500 crore.

Planning and development minister Nirupam Sen, second-in-command in the state cabinet, will prepare the blueprint, along with the financial implications, before it is despatched to Delhi, officers said. The newly-elected MPs from the city — Mohd Salim, Sudhangshu Seal and Sujan Chakraborty — will pursue the projects as a Calcutta pressure group in Delhi.

The pending projects are mainly in the sectors of urban development and surface transport, including railways.

“Development projects specially designed for showcasing Calcutta have been pending for the past five years owing to the Centre’s indecision. There was no breakthrough, despite repeated appeals,” said a senior officer at Writers’ Buildings. “Many projects could not be implemented because of New Delhi’s negative policy,’’ he stressed.

Countries like France and Italy had agreed to provide funds for development projects in the city. However, officers said, nothing materialised, as the NDA government did not give the nod. “Approval from the Centre is a must to avail of foreign funds. We do not know the reason behind the blocking of foreign funds,’’ the official said.

“After Metro Railway, the state has not got any major development project from the Centre in the past five years,” said transport minister Subhas Chakraborty. “From construction of flyovers to augmentation of drinking water, the state government had to implement projects by taking loans. We have sent a number of project proposals for the city’s infrastructure development, but all were blocked by Delhi,” he alleged.

“Now, after the changed political scenario, I hope these proposals will finally be implemented,’’ the minister added. Chakraborty said the government was preparing a status report on pending projects.

“The city needs more flyovers, underpasses and roads. It is not possible for a state government alone to implement all development projects,’’ said Seal.

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