The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Freedom for IT island

Calcutta, Feb. 22: The Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government has completed all formalities to give Salt Lake Electronics Complex (Saltlec) industrial township status.

'We will issue a gazette notification in a month, declaring Sector V of Salt Lake an industrial town. We are just waiting for formal permission from the delimitation commission,' said urban development secretary K.S. Rajendrakumar.

Saltlec, home to around 200 information technology (IT) companies like Wipro, TCS and IBM, will no longer come under the Bidhannagar Municipality. The government cleared the proposal in 2004, but the delimitation panel gave its nod only last month.

Urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya said Sector V would be the first full-fledged industrial town in the region. 'We will ensure all the amenities of a state-of-the-art industrial town in Sector V.'

According to the plan, the area will be looked after by a monitoring committee comprising officials from the IT, urban development, and planning and development departments along with CMDA and Webel, the state's nodal IT agency. It will also have representatives from IT companies.

The committee will be empowered to collect taxes and levies from the IT companies in Sector V and will be responsible for providing all civic amenities. Nearly Rs 2 crore that the Bidhannagar Municipality collects annually from Sector V as municipal taxes will go to its coffer.

'The municipality never ploughed back the money it collected from Saltlec. That's why the condition of roads was bad and basic civic amenities were missing,' said an IT entrepreneur.

The heads of IT companies had raised their problems with the chief minister at recent industry meets. 'The best thing about this decision is that the stakeholders in Saltlec will have a say on how the area should be governed,' said S.K. Mitra, managing director, Webel.

The plan envisages that CMDA will maintain roads but private parties will be roped in for other services ' drinking water, sewerage, solid waste management, beautification of parks and boulevards, eateries and environment-related matters.

Lease transfer

The government has decided to allow transfer of lease holding rights of commercial and industrial plots in Salt Lake. Lessees who had taken land on 999 years' lease can transfer the holding rights with the government's permission.

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