Rajarhat-Newton rechristened 'Jyoti Basu Nagar'

Kolkata, Oct 7th, 2010: The Rajarhat-Newtown, located on the city's North-Eastern fringe and sprawled over a land area of 3,080 hectares, was today named after CPI(M) patriarch late Jyoti Basu, who breathed his last in January this year.

Addressing a huge crowd that stood in the rain for hours to be present at the occasion, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said that the town was a result of years of planning by the State government and Jyoti Basu had also been closely involved during the initial stages. Chief Minister pointed out that “those who gave their land for the project have not been forgotten and that most of them will find jobs and homes within Jyoti Basu Nagar.” It was in the year 1995, the township was envisaged by Basu, the Chief Minister recalled.

Former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee was also present, sharing the dais with Mr. Bhattacharjee and senior leaders of several political parties.Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and other party leaders, however, stayed away.

Comparing the naming of the town after Jyoti Basu with that of the nearby Salt Lake area after another political stalwart of the State, Bidhan Chandra Roy, also a former Chief Minister, Mr. Chatterjee said that “the process of urbanisation cannot be stopped in the State.” People are continuously pouring into cities from villages in quest of a better life, he said.

Speaking about the vision for Jyoti Basu Nagar, Mr. Bhattacharjee said that once the town was fully developed, ten lakh people will live there permanently and another five lakh will find employment in the various offices and knowledge-based industry that will be set up there. Besides, a Rabindranath Tagore campus, housing the works of the poet, would come up in the township.

“For historical reasons, Kolkata has remained the only major city in the State. But, 70 lakh people live in Kolkata and the pressure on the city is far too much,” he added.

"It is remarkable that such a huge project with so many roads and houses had been implemented without any government-money,” Mr. Bhattacharjee said, appreciating the efforts of cabinet colleague and Minister for Housing, Gautam Deb.

Mr. Bhattacharjee also pointed out that about 50 percent of the town's housing facilities had been set aside for people from the lower and middle classes. Around 50 per cent of the township would comprise human habitation, including water bodies, and an art gallery be set up on a land area of ten cottahs, Mr Bhattacharjee added. The Chief Minister also unveiled the plaque for a children's park in the area.

''The statelite town will ease the pressure borne by Kolkata. People hailing from both rich and middle classes would reside in the township that will also house a financial hub armed with banking facilities,'' Mr Bhattacharjee informed and said facities for opening embassies would also be provided.

Addressing the gathering, state Minister for Housing Gautam Deb said the township had so far witnessed an investment of Rs 13,000 crore, adding altogether 20,000 IT personnel were working in various units across the area.

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