Jalpaiguri HC bench hope

Tender issued for circuit bench construction

By OUR CORRESPONDENT in Jalpaiguri
  • Published 29.01.18
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The boundary wall of the plot where the proposed circuit bench will be set up. Picture by Biplab Basak

Jalpaiguri: The Bengal public works department has issued a tender seeking applications from construction firms to set up infrastructure required to set up the circuit bench of Calcutta High Court here.

The Jalpaiguri residents have been raising the demand for the bench for over past 50 years.

"We have seen a tender notice issued by the state PWD in a vernacular daily on January 26, where applications have been sought for construction of the infrastructure of circuit bench. It is a major development as the state has only built a boundary wall at the plot earmarked for the bench so far," said Kamal Krishna Banerjee, the secretary of the Jalpaiguri Circuit Bench O Dabi Aday Sarbik Unnayan Sammanoy Committee.

The tender that has been floated with a minimum bid price of Rs 352 crore is a clear indication that the state intends to ready the infrastructure for the circuit bench.

Back in 1963, lawyers of Jalpaiguri had, for the first time, raised the demand. After 31 years, in 1994, a three-member team of judges from Calcutta High Court visited Jalpaiguri and submitted their report. Also, a decision was taken at the Cabinet of the then Left government and in 2006, the same decision was passed in Parliament.

In 2007, a plot measuring around 40 acres was handed over to the state judicial department by the Jalpaiguri district administration.

In 2012, chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Justice J.N. Patel, the then Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court, laid the foundation stone for construction of the infrastructure at the plot.

The state then allotted a sum of Rs 56 crore for construction of boundary wall and to prepare the land for infrastructure.

"Construction of the boundary wall had ended but there was not much of a development since then. It is good that the state taken the initiative to build the infrastructure," said Banerjee.

Sources said the state government had planned to build a five-storied court building, 15 bungalows for judges, the Chief Justice's bungalow, over 70 staff quarters which would be in four-storied buildings, an auditorium with capacity of 300 people, car parking space and Judges' Club on the site.

Also, there would be space for air-conditioning plant, sewerage treatment plant, water reservoir, generator room, electrical sub-station, playground and some other facilities, said the sources.

"Submission of bids for the tender will finish by February. We hope construction would start from the beginning of next fiscal," a senior official of the state PWD department said.