Jyoti Basu Nagar beckons Rajarhat New Town

TNN, Aug 26, 2010, 12.58am IST

KOLKATA: Come October, Rajarhat New Town will be rechristened Jyoti Basu Nagar. The children's park here will also be named after the country's longest-serving chief minister. Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation (Hidco) plans to celebrate the naming ceremony of the township -- close to Salt Lake aka Bidhannagar named after Basu's senior and former CM Bidhan Chandra Roy -- with various cultural programmes through the month.

"We will install a statue of Jyoti Basu at the new township. Chief minister Buddadeb Bhattacharjee will be present on the occasion," said state housing minister Gautam Deb, who has reportedly sent an invite to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with a request to lay the foundation stone of the business hub, Dalhousie.

"We want the PM to lay the foundation stone for the project. Many senior central government officials will be present on the occasion," said Deb, who also planned to invite railway minister Mamata Banerjee even as she had stayed away from a similar programme at New Town earlier.

Announcing Rs 250 crore for Metro to share the cost of setting up a tube network up to Rajarhat, the minister added, "We will give land for free and also inform Banerjee about it."

Upbeat about Infosys chairman NR Narayana Murthy seeking a presence at New Town, Deb said, "Murthy had positive talks with the

CM and state IT minister Debes Das. Infosys officials saw the land and wanted to know how much floor area ratio (FAR) they could get. We will give them the best deal because the CM too is keen on having Infosys in the state," Deb said.

With plans of a government school, college and hospital in the new township, he added, "We have allotted 20 acre to SSKM hospital for setting up its new campus. We will also try and get a hospital here along the lines of AIIMS with the help of Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad."

With 20,000 flats reportedly ready for an inauguration on September 6, the minister said, "We have requested Banerjee to hand over the keys to the occupants, but a reply from her is still awaited. We had also invited Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, but he conveyed his inability to come." This apart, there will be 10,000 new flats for the lower income group, of which 5,000 flats will be reserved for landlosers.

Deb took the opportunity to clear the controversy over distribution of plots to individuals under Hidco chairman and special quotas.

"We have so far distributed 296 plots to individuals and cooperatives under the chairman's quota and 184 plots under the special quota. Transparency has been maintained in the entire process," the minister added.


Jyoti Basu’s house in Bangladesh being converted into a tourist centre

By Rahman Jahangir

Dhaka, Aug 17 (APP)- Bangladesh is going to honour veteran Indian Communist leader and former West Bengal Chief Minister late Jyoti Basu by setting up a library and a tourist centre at his ancestral house in Chowdhury Para, Barodi, under Sanargaon sub-district, about 20 km from the capital. Following a directive from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to this effect, the Ministry of Cultural Affairs finalised the decision in a recent meeting with its Secretary Hedayetullah al Mamun. The tourism ministry has also given consent to the proposal.

Since the government is now waiting to get a nod from his family members living in Kolkata, the foreign ministry has asked the Bangladesh’s Deputy High Commissioner in Kolkata to obtain the permission from his family members, as Bangladesh wants to preserve the house having memories of the veteran Bengali leader.

Jyoti Basu was born on July 8, 1914 in Kolkata in an upper middle-class Bengali family, but his father Nishikanta Basu, a doctor by profession, hailed from the village of Barodi in Narayanganj district of Bangladesh.

Basu, during his last visit to Bangladesh in 1999, had visited his ancestral house and expressed his desire to the Bangladesh government to convert the house into a library. He regularly enquired about the present condition of the house till his death on January 17.

After his death, during discussion on a condolence motion in the Bangladesh parliament to pay respect to Basu, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had promised preservation of his memories in Bangladesh by setting up a library at his ancestral house.

Among others, Sheikh Hasina had attended the funeral of the CPM leader in Kolkata. He had good relations with Bangladesh’s founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and Hasina had great respect for Basu. As the chief minister of West Bengal, Basu had played a crucial role in reaching an agreement on sharing of water of the river Ganges in 1996 after Hasina came to power.