The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Feel-good slew on poll eve

As the city gears up for the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) polls on June 19, the civic body and the state government are in a race to pump in crores for Calcutta's development.

Suddenly, grand plans are being visualised and announced, projects are drawing to a close, others are set to make a debut and expressions of interest are being invited from private companies.

From flyovers, wider roads, townships and jogging tracks to entertainment centres, malls and cinema complexes, plans are being unveiled and initiated in months.

'We are inviting expressions of interest from private companies for a large number of projects this April, May and June,' urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya said on Sunday.

Several pet projects of the state government are centred in and around the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass. Widening of the stretch from Ultadanga to Parama island has started and work on the stretch ahead, till Baruipur, will be taken up in the next few months. 'Eight-lane stretches are essential for our city and, hence, this project,' minister Bhattacharya explained.

A grand beautification of Salt Lake's Sector V is to be taken up shortly, with facilities for car parking, gymnasium, food courts, jogging tracks, a green belt, entertainment centres, and so on.

The detailed plan has been drawn up, and after a final meeting next week, the project will be initiated by April-end.

Mayor Subrata Mukherjee is now the grand visionary behind some swift urbanisation of Calcutta's backward areas: improvement of the rural belt of Behala has started, while the semi-rural areas of east Calcutta will have better roads, water supply and drainage ' a project to be unveiled on May 1.

From flyovers at Ballygunge Phari and Esplanade (plans are expected to be cleared shortly) to a sprawling rose garden in Maddox Square ' a project to be unveiled next week ' there's something for every Calcuttan.

The minister, however, asserts: 'Elections may be in June, but that's incidental. Our projects are part of an ongoing process.'

Mayor Mukherjee agrees: 'Elections are a part of democracy, but a responsible civic body should continue to work for the people.'

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