The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Projects roll on Buddha prod
- Bantala icon in calendar of completion

If Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has his way, 2005 could go down as the year of project completion.

With delays dogging every infrastructure step and deadlines reduced to mere dots on the calendar, a prod from the top is finally forcing some action on the ground.

The result is a project calendar for the year that ranges from the Bondel Gate flyover to the widening of the EM Bypass (see chart).

If the next few months are all about a long to-do list, the past few months have been all about a history of project hiccups. But now, say Writers' Buildings officials, things are finally moving.

If the much-delayed Park Street flyover was the February showpiece, the controversial Calcutta Leather Complex at Bantala is set to be the show-stealer of March.

Two years behind schedule, the Rs 1,000-crore project promoted by M.L. Dalmiya and Company and backed by the government is finally ready for rollout.

Government officials, tannery-owners and promoters are working overtime to complete the project, after chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee read senior bureaucrats the riot act last month for excessive delays and ballooning costs.

'Let us not lose time and energy on these never-ending projects,' Bhattacharjee is known to have told commerce and industry minister Nirupam Sen over the completion of the Rs 1,000-crore leather complex.

The minister, in turn, sent word down the line, making a March launch a probability.

Sen confirmed on Wednesday that the leather complex was set to debut next month.

'Everything, including the basic infrastructure and the common effluent treatment plant (CETP), is in place. The most important part of the project, an agreement between the tannery-owners and the government regarding the running of the complex and paying levies to the government and the promoter, is also over.'

Restoration of water and power supply and CETP connection will be completed in a week, and 'we are ready to hand over the 327-acre complex to the tannery-owners by March 15', added Baishali Sengupta, director of M.L. Dalmiya and Co.

Work on the Calcutta Leather Complex, located off the Bypass, started in 2000 and was to have been completed within three years.

'We hope there will be no further delay,' said industry secretary Sabyasachi Sen.

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