Rajarhat Newtown to be named after Basu

Ajanta Chakraborty, TNN, Jul 9, 2010, 12.38am IST

KOLKATA: The Left Front government has decided to christen Rajarhat as Jyotinagar after late CPM patriarch Jyoti Basu. The government is also looking for land at Rajarhat so that a museum and education and research centre in Basu's memory can be set up soon.
This project, in fact, has taken precedence as the ruling CPM has decided to give up Basu's former residence, Indira Bhavan, soon. Basu's belongings are still in this two-storey bungalow at Salt Lake, where Basu's 96th birth anniversary was celebrated on Thursday.
"We are making preparations so that Rajarhat is known as Jyotinagar within the next three months," state housing minister Gautam Deb, who is also chairman of Hidco the agency that runs Rajarhat-New Town said on Thursday. In fact, it was on Basu's birthday celebrations in 2007 when the idea of renaming New Town was first announced by protege and former transport minister Subhas Chakraborty.
The renaming plan includes beautification of a 48-hectare waterbody at the junction of VIP Road and Rajarhat. The centre of the waterbody has been land-filled to create an island which, too, will be landscaped so that a statue of Basu can be installed here. Sources said the ruling CPM had planned Jyotinagar for long, and it was with this thought that the island was carved in the waterbody at the Rajarhat-VIP Road junction.
Hidco officials said the government would announce the Jyotinagar project after finalizing an elaborate programme to mark the christening. "Initially, people were looking for an appropriate occasion to announce Rajarhat's new name. But it has been decided that a leader of Jyoti Basu's stature wouldn't need any excuse for the honours," said an official.
The brisk activity to rename Rajarhat and set up a museum in Basu's memory comes in the wake of a refusal by the now Trinamool-run Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) to rename Eastern Metropolitan Bypass after the late patriarch. Last week, the newly formed KMC board turned down the Left Front's proposal, submitted soon after Basu's death on January 17, citing road renaming rules which makes it mandatory to name a stretch only after two years of a person's death. Hidco officials said such rules wouldn't come in the way of Jyotinagar.
For the moment, however, both the government and the CPM mandarins at Alimuddin Street are more concerned with finding a suitable plot for setting up the Jyoti Basu Education and Research Centre and the museum in the patriarch's memory.
Basu's aide Joykrishna Ghosh said, "The CPM has decided to vacate the bungalow soon; they are looking for a suitable plot to set up the museum." The monthly rent of Rs 8,895 for this seven-room bungalow had been footed by the party since Basu stepped down as chief minister in 2000. The urban development department has been trying to look for a plot in Salt Lake, but the government is now more keen on having the museum in Rajarhat.
An official said, "More land is available at Rajarhat for the research centre where Marxism and related subjects will be studied. A separate wing will house the museum where Basu's belongings and books will be preserved."

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