Coffer worth Rs 22K crore: 'BJP's claim a poll gimmick'
Kolkata: BJP's ambitious promise of setting up a coffer worth Rs 22,000 crore to turn Kolkata into an international city has stunned the town planners — who dubbed the assurance as a 'poll gimmick' — and state government officials connected with the city's development.
The assurance was endorsed on a billboard bearing the 'promise' in Bengali along with a photograph of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The billboard has been put up along Maa Flyover.
Requesting anonymity, town planners said: "Since Independence, nowhere in the country a coffer worth Rs 22,000 crore had been set up for the development of a city and make it an international one. Charles Correa foundation had recommended Rs 1827 crore in the 1990s for the development of the city. This is nothing but a poll gimmick."
They said the BJP-led Uttar Pradesh government had taken up a project for the development of Varanasi, which is the constituency of Narendra Modi, at an estimated cost of Rs 614 crore.
Senior officials said if one had to buy this logic, then every ward in Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) would get more than Rs 150 crore. "Schemes worth Rs 5 lakh to Rs 50 lakh are generally taken for the development of the ward. Now, it will be difficult for the engineers who are used to making plans worth Rs 50 lakh to take up such huge schemes."
The area under KMC is 206.08 square kilometer and the population is 1.49 crore. A globally-acclaimed architect said: "As per BJP's statement, US $ 3 billion would be spent for Kolkata's development. Even in the most advanced countries, this amount had never been spent for the development of a city. Those who have made this announcement have tried to fool us."