The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mega facelift ahead for old city pockets

A Rs 225-crore facelift project will be undertaken in 14 old pockets of Calcutta and Howrah as part of a redevelopment plan for eight metros.

Named 'Redevelopment of Old City Areas', the project will be implemented by the state urban development department, in association with the civic authorities of the two cities.

The plan includes renovation of heritage buildings, restructuring of old markets, repair of roads and pavements, upgrade of street lights (including installation of halogen lamps), improvement of traffic management, augmentation of drinking water supply, riverfront development, and betterment of sewerage and solid waste management.

An official said owners of old buildings will be requested to repair or build anew the dilapidated parts. 'If an owner is unable to afford the repairs, the job will have to be done by the tenants or occupants.'

Private participation will be encouraged in projects like riverfront development, and restoration of Koley Market and the Metiabruz garment complex.

The revamp decision follows criticism from all quarters, including the ruling CPM, that some of the oldest pockets in Calcutta ' like Cossipore, Chitpur, Posta, Koley Market and Old China Bazar ' have not seen any development for decades.

'These are very congested zones and there is little scope for taking up any major revamp scheme. Still, we are trying our best to improve the areas,' said Calcutta mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya.

Half the revamp cost for Calcutta will be borne by the Centre. The civic body will chip with 15 per cent of the amount and the rest will be provided by the state government.

For Howrah, the Centre and the state will share 35 per cent of the cost each, 15 per cent will be provided by the civic authorities and the rest will be raised from private entrepreneurs.

'We have submitted the plan to the Union urban development ministry and are working on detailed project reports,' said a state official.

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