Revival of the Lakes - CONFIDENCE-BOOSTER INITIATIVE

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By SUBHRO SAHA
  • Published 5.02.08
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The phased urban renewal initiative for Rabindra Sarobar, south Calcutta’s green lungs, has been flagged off with a “confidence-building” landscaping and beautification programme designed to bring people back to the Lakes.

“It’s important to restore public confidence and rid the Lakes of the stigma of criminal activities. Our aim is to project Rabindra Sarobar as a clean, safe, family destination for sports and leisure,” state urban development secretary P.K. Pradhan told Metro.

The urban development department has rolled out the rejuvenation project with a start-up capital of Rs 2.5 crore, set aside from the Rs 4-crore central grant it received for cleaning up the water. It is estimated that another Rs 4-5 crore would be required to execute the complete makeover model for the 192-acre Lakes.

Writers’ Buildings has engaged joint-sector real estate firm Calcutta Metropolitan Group (CMG) to carry out the first phase of landscaping and beautification, in collaboration with Calcutta Improvement Trust, CMDA and all the stakeholders by the Lakes, including the sports clubs and coaching centres.

CMG, which has also chipped in with Rs 25 lakh, worked on the “base plan” drawn up by students of Jadavpur University’s department of architecture and planning. “The idea was to bring in a semblance of uniformity in signage and street furniture, and restore an element of functionality to the 27,000-sq-ft pilot area through repair and reorientation,” said Sumit Dabriwala, the managing director of CMG.

The government hopes other private players will soon be enthused to join the Lakes-resuscitation drive. “Work on the first phase should be complete by February-end and once people’s confidence is restored, we hope to generate revenue to cover capital and maintenance costs through rides, water sports and maybe evening entry fee, without compromising on public interest,” Pradhan added.

The clubs have also promised to do their bit. “We have already beautified an island and planted trees. We will also clean up the water body around our premises and hope to revive canoeing and kayaking in the Lakes,” said Chandan Roy Chowdhury, the secretary of Calcutta Rowing Club.