Private blueprint for park doll-up

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By Staff Reporter
  • Published 20.09.07

After years of dilly-dallying, the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) has finally roped in private companies to draw up blueprints for beautifying city parks and traffic islands.

These firms will be handed over the responsibility of maintaining the parks after the CMC okays their plans.

The initial focus will be on the roads in the Chowringhee, Park Street, Camac Street, Tollygunge, Rashbehari Avenue, Kankurgachhi, Ultadanga and Central Avenue areas.

The CMC has formed a committee called Mission Beautification, under mayoral council member (parks and gardens) Faiyaz Ahmed Khan’s chairmanship, with other departmental heads, engineers and artists. The committee is responsible for okaying the plans.

“We have allowed companies free publicity for years in exchange for a commitment to maintain the roadside gardens and islands, but most have been negligent towards their duties. Some islands look like dumping grounds,” said Khan, adding that the CMC has decided to charge the companies for the advertisements they put up at parks and traffic islands.

In the new agenda, the system of putting up billboards on gantries will be done away with. Instead, single-pole structures will be introduced for advertisements. Plans are afoot to install electronic boards that will not only telecast advertisements but also entertainment programmes.

The CMC will, however, retain all powers to terminate the contract of any company that is found negligent in executing the maintenance plan.

“We are through with the preliminary planning. After we draw up the final plan, we will submit it to the committee for its approval. We can start our work after the Puja,” said Anindya Banerjee, the director of Enkon, one of the companies selected for the project.

At present, about half of the 316 roadside gardens are maintained by private companies. More than 90 per cent of the privately maintained gardens are not looked after properly, alleged Khan.

With the new project, the CMC expects to bring in a lot of revenue. “We will no longer bear the responsibility of maintaining the parks. So, apart from saving on the maintenance cost, the civic body will earn over Rs 5 crore a year in revenue,” said Khan.