The Telegraph
Sunday , August 17 , 2014
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Bengal picks smart city contenders

Calcutta, Aug. 16: The Bengal government has identified 10 locations in the state to be developed as smart cities and would make its representation to the Centre for development of these regions.

The development comes at a time the state government has unveiled an urban policy that seeks to promote growth of the real estate sector in the state.

“The central government has proposed the development of 100 smart cities. We have identified 10 locations in the state that could be developed as smart cities,” said Debashis Sen, principal secretary in the urban development department of the Bengal government. He was speaking today at the sixth annual convention of NAR-India, the apex body of real estate brokers in the country.

Sen said the locations identified by the state includes New Town — Rajarhat, Bolpur, Durgapur, Kalyani, Baruipur, Raghunathpur, Jaigaon, Phulbari, Gangasagar and Debanandapur.

These smart cities in essence are existing mid-sized cities or satellite towns of large cities, which would be modernised to cater to urban housing and industrial requirements in the future.

Sen said these cities could be developed to provide modern infrastructure along with information technology-based civic amenities.

“These locations are identified on the basis of where urban population in Bengal is going to grow,” said Sen, adding that the state government was working on the details.

The Union finance ministry has budgeted Rs 7,060 crore in the current year for development of smart cities. ‘

Real estate developers, however, said more clarity was required on the nature of infrastructure in these smart cities and the role of the government and that of real estate companies in developing such cities.

Alapan Bandhopadhyay, principal secretary in the housing and transport department of the Bengal government, said the state was exploring the provision of allowing faster clearances of housing projects even though it would be difficult to permit critical clearances such as fire on a single-window basis without physical inspection.

He said the state government was looking for inputs in this context from national bodies such as Credai and NAR-India.