Autism township project to come up in Bengal: Hakim

Kolkata: State Urban Development and Municipal Affairs minister Firhad Hakim on Wednesday announced the setting up of a first of its kind autism township project in the state by Ratnabali Investment Private Ltd, with an investment of Rs 600 crore.
The township, dedicated exclusively to autism, will come up on 50 acres of land at Shirakole on Diamond Harbour Road near Usthi in South 24-Parganas district."I think this will be the first autism township, not only in India but in the entire world. There will be hospital, residential complex, school and training facilities, all pertaining to autism, under one roof," Hakim said.
The minister added that the investment proposals worth Rs 39,000 crore have come in the urban development and infrastructure sector in BGBS 2018, which concluded on Wednesday. "The whole country is going through a bad phase in industry and investment in the wake of demonetisation and Goods and Services Tax (GST) implementation. However, we are delighted that industrialists are preferring the state as an investment destination," Hakim said.
Talking about his venture of the autism township on the sidelines of the summit, Suresh Somani, the joint managing director of Ratnabali Investment Pvt Ltd, said that there will be permanent residential facility for the autism affected people, a day care centre and a conference hall.
"We are planning to set up a college which will churn out qualified professionals working in the area of autism," Somani said. "We are also exploring international tie-ups for state-of-the-art facilities at this township. There are centres across the country that offer treatment to autism affected people but here we will have all comprehensive facilities under one roof. If things go as per plan, we are hopeful that this will be functional in about four year's time," he added.
It may be mentioned that as per the latest figures of World Health Organisation (WHO), 1 in 157 people across the world suffers from autism. 3 million Indians are affected by autism and need special care. An estimated 1 out of 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls are diagnosed with autism in the United States.

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