The dream project of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to set up green cities across the state has started taking shape with the Municipal Affairs department disbursing Rs 50 lakh to each of the municipalities for the purpose of planning and other necessities to set up green city in their respective areas.
Firhad Hakim, the state Municipal Affairs department minister, said at present, the state government has allocated Rs 400 crore to set up green cities and on Tuesday itself Rs 50 lakh was given to each of the municipalities for the same purpose.
“The municipalities have been asked to submit their plan of action to develop green cities in their areas. Grant for the green cities will be decided based on the size and quantum of work needed for each of the same,” he said adding that the state government is taking strong action immediately after getting any information of filling up of any water bodies. “This is a social crime. We are very serious about it,” he said.
Hakim was speaking at the “Conference on Green Buildings” organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in Kolkata on Tuesday.
He further said that the West Bengal Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill was passed in the Assembly. All the corporations can allow 10 per cent FAR for green buildings.
“I am in regular touch with the representatives of the municipalities and discuss the aspects which come up regarding setting up of green cities. I also urged CII to provide a copy of the panel discussion in which representatives of more than 60 municipalities took part in the Conference on Green Building. I will go through it to know if anything better can be done,” he said adding that their target is to be number one in the country in terms of green cities.
The decision to set up green cities was taken instead of the smart cities as proposed by the Centre due to two basic reasons, said Hakim adding: “First of all the project is only for the areas under major civic bodies. But our target is to ensure an overall development. So the green city project was taken up as it can also be implemented by even comparatively smaller civic bodies in the state. Secondly, an initial investment of Rs 1,000 crore is needed for smart city projects and the Centre would start giving 50 per cent of the money after five years”.
He further said that the by 2030, 42 per cent of the population would start staying in the urban parts. Thus it should be planned accordingly so that the future generation do not face any trouble.
Dr Rupali Basu, Vice Chairperson of West Bengal State Council and the President and CEO (Eastern Region) Apollo Hospitals Group, said: “The 10 per cent FAR is very large and let go the green way for our next generation.”
Sushil Mohta, Co-Chairman, Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), Kolkata Chapter and Managing Director of Merlin Group said: “Going greener is an imperative for a sustainable tomorrow. He also expressed confidence that with all stakeholders joining force, Bengal will chart a new sustainable growth paradigm and encourage other states to tread the same path”.