Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Friday, Sep 13, 2002
Industry & Economy
Bengal looking for funds to build `Green Corridor' road
KOLKATA, Sept. 12
THE West Bengal Government is now in the process of identifying the fund sources for the ambitious 170-km-long `Green Corridor' road project linking Kalyani (North 24 Parganas) to Namkhana in South 24 Parganas, which will include construction of 27 flyovers on BOT basis.
The project, mainly intended to clear the endemic traffic congestion, also covers the construction of 50 more connecting `passways' adjoining all major railway stations in the city, and is estimated to cost over Rs 1,500 crore.
Participating in an interactive session organised by the Merchants Chamber of Commerce (MCC) here, Mr Subhas Chakraborty, State Minister of Transport & Sports, said that some resources are now expected to be made available for upgradation of existing infrastructure/ transport development of the State.
He said the expected revenue accruals through the cess to be levied on petrol, diesel and LPG by the State Government effective from August 21, 2002 may only be around Rs 300 crore. The accruals on this account are to be earmarked exclusively for development of transport infrastructure, traffic operations and road safety.
The Minister hinted that a deal was being worked out with SBI Caps, linking deposit of the cess amount with release of funds for the State's transport infrastructure development. Admitting that there no proper bus terminals in the city, he said it has now been decided to create two new inter-State bus terminals away from the main traffic area of the city, near the eastern fringes (EM Bypass) and near the western corridor of the Second Hooghly Bridge on the western fringes.
Pointing out that construction of the terminals would begin soon, the Minister said the idea was to avoid bus congestion in the heart of the city. Suggesting that city improvement plans were now at a transitory phase, he said the State Government was firmly committed to improving the face of Kolkata city.
Pointing out that only 6.5 per cent of the total land area of Kolkata was available for roads network, Mr Sunil Kanoria, President of MCC, said there was considerable scope for working out a better land-use plan for faster movement of traffic in Kolkata.
Suggesting that tramways should be withdrawn from city and replaced by modern pollution-free buses, he said that if the roads are improved, re-aligned and land-driving facility is provided, the transport system would certainly present a new look.
Welcoming the State decision to place 60 Euro-II buses on roads by October next, and replace all State buses by Euro-II buses in phases, Mr Kanoria said the new-look buses, if run on the existing broken and bumpy roads, will meet the same fate as Leylands did within a few years of introduction. He said the road surface must be re-built, strengthened and dressed up to get the best value from Euro buses.
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