February 17, 2009

Rs 5 crore for Subhas Sarobar revamp

KOLKATA: The state has received money to implement a green project that was long overdue. The Union ministry of tourism has just sanctioned Rs 5 crore to revamp Subhas Sarobar, the lungs of east Kolkata. The lake, an eyesore for years, is all set to turn into a beautiful landscape in the next 20 months.
After lobbying for nearly two years with the Union ministry of urban development, the state government highlighted the rejuvenation of Subhas Sarobar as a key tourism project while seeking funds from the Union ministry of tourism (MoT). Result? MoT has now sanctioned Rs 4.91 crore to rejuvenate the lake, which has been included in the National Lake Conservation Programme, but has been crying for attention all these years.
The waterbody has been suffering, thanks to everyday bathing, washing and cleaning by slum-dwellers. Well a sea change is about to take place. And a visit to the sprawling sarovar (41.61 acres of waterbody and 49.99 acres of land) will transport you to lush green grounds dotted with a children's park, rockery, French shelters, joggers' track and other related landscaping accessories. The water will also be treated in a scientific manner. The area around the shimmering water will be lit up in the most fascinating manner to create a romantic ambience after dusk. A lot of recreational activity will take place, especially in the amphitheatre, the water sports complex and food courts. Security will be a key issue: the complex will be closely guarded and visitors monitored through electronic gates.
The sarobar is currently used haphazardly by swimming and other clubs the inner pathways originally meant for morning-walkers are now used for traffic movement between Narkeldanga Main Road and CIT Road-Beliaghata Main Road.
"We just cannot allow this prime waterbody in a crowded city area remain an eyesore forever. So, we decided to send a comprehensive project report, prepared from the original KIT plan, to the ministry. And, we developed it as per the Centre's guidelines to attract funds," said TVN Rao, director of the West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation and the concept creator.
The rejuvenation plan also provides for a proper solid waste management and underground stormwater drainage systems. "Currently, there is a huge dump yard in the sarobar premises. We will remove it and implement a scientific solid waste management," said Biswanath Sen, chief engineer-in-charge of KIT, the implementing agency. But since the project has been prepared by West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation, a must-do is a tourism facilitation centre to highlight the other tourism destinations around the sarobar. These stop-overs include Science City, Milan Mela, Nalban, Nicco Park and Salt Lake stadium.

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