The state Urban Development Department has chalked out a comprehensive plan to develop vast areas at Jaigaon at the Indo-Bhutan border and turn it into a commercial hub.
The department has engaged the West Bengal Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) to prepare a plan and the agency has submitted the first draft report to the department. The agency has carried out an extensive survey in the area.
Jaigaon is an area with tremendous business potential. For quite some time the Bhutan government has been requesting the state government to construct a second Indo-Bhutan gate, in addition to the one in Phuentsholing, a border town in southern Bhutan. Jaigaon is thickly populated, with a population of more 86,000. The state government will construct the second Indo-Bhutan gate at Jaigaon.
The area used to be highly congested because of a popular market. The market has now been shifted and construction firm Mackintosh Burn Ltd has been assigned to construct the gate. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during her tour of north Bengal next week, will visit Jaigaon which is situated in Alipurduar district.
The Urban Development department has proposed to set up a mini township on around 50-60 acres of land, which used to be Gopimohun tea estate. The state government acquired possession of the tea estate after many years of legal battle.
Basic urban amenities will also be provided to Jaigaon. These will include water supply, drainage and sewerage and better roads. The Public Health Engineering department will also construct a drinking
water facility at an estimated cost of Rs 91 crore. Unfiltered water will be extracted from river Torsha and purified for drinking.
Later, piped water will be supplied. This will be a major step in resolving the drinking water crisis in the area. The state government has also proposed to set up an economic area development zone at Jaigaon, along the international road connecting India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. Bhutan’s commercial base is Pasaka and the development of Jaigaon means total development of the area, which will lead to sharp rise in economic activities.
Thousands of labourers visit Phuentsholing and its neighbourhood via Jaigaon daily. The economic activities that are taking place in the area are haphazard. Once a planned development takes place the entire area could thrive with economic activities and will eventually change the scenario of the area.