By Sun Narin
Thousands of people living in and around New Town Rajarhat facing an acute scarcity of water and the New Town is recently under flood affected nearly one lakh people living there and its neighbors draw the attention to the complex problems arising from the city’s dramatic buildings. The new cities and the high rising buildings have become the concerns for the people who are looking for the flat at the modern city.
Real Estate in Kolkata is booming with the existence of the new cities around Kolkata city like New Kolkata Township of Rajarhat, Salt Lake, VIP Road, E.M. Bypass, etc, and other high rising buildings in suburb of West Bengal. These have become some of the most in-demand locations in the city. The other several projects are underway and the new investors are looking to invest more in real estate in this oldest city with the old buildings at the downtown. However, critics say the rising real estate is the pell-mell growth and people owning the flat at those new cities are complaining about the improper plan of the buildings with poor ability to provide basic services including roads, electricity, water, traffic congestion and the flood during the raining.
The problem of the new cities in Kolkata repeats the pattern seen in metropolises such as Bangkok, Jakata and Cambodia, which an estimated 350 people were trampled to death as they crossed the a bridge connecting downtown Phnom Penh to the satellite city with the entertainment places and the construction of high rising buildings of shopping, hotel, working places and housing during the Water Festival which a lot of people gather at the new emerging city.
Dr Anjan Kumar Dutta, CEO, A.K.Dutta & Associates, said that as far as the real estate scenario of Kolkata is concerned, the city is certainly lacking with the world class infrastructure facilities, adding that there have to be proper consideration for designing roads, storm water and central night soil drainage system, per capita consumptions with respected to numbers of projected persons under design consideration.
New City Rajarhat is the example of other new cities which people are now stressful with the improper infrastructure over there, he adds.
He said: “ The night soil pipeline laying profile or surface drainage profiles are erroneous in Rajarhat and several projects are going on without proper sewerage solution and filling up of low leveled land etc which will cause stagnation of water during rainy season afterwards. Road qualities are too poor, water quality also not very good.”
According to the residents residing at the flat at Rajarhat, they are now complaining about the improper planning, quality of the building and the inability to provide basic services for the residents including the roads, the problem of water and electricity and the recent flood.
“The government should deal with this problem for the people and check for the proper plan for the other new cities and rising buildings in the future for the safe and convenient life of the people,” said the source which is not to be named in the newspaper.
The absence of a sewer line-apparently an oversight by the previous Left Front government that “developed” the township means that heavy-duty pumps have been destroyed to drain accumulated water into the Kestopur and Bagjola canals.
However, the officials of the Housing and Infrastructure Development Corporation (Hidco) said, “We have employed heavy-duty pumps but the canals are full and unable to carry the additional water.” They add that they are dealing with the other issues for the people.
The engineers say that now the new government should carefully check every project of the development of the new cities and high building “making sure it is in proper infrastructure and service for the people.” They add that the lack of planning by the former Left Front government is responsible for the disaster.
Dr Anjan Kumar Dutta explains that good real estate development criteria, soothing amicable environment is to be delivered to the residents including quality and spacious roads, water, electricity, environment friendly construction techniques, sound and visual non polluted space. “We must look after the latest technology as well to prevent the problem in future,” he said.
“The government should make expert panel comprising technical personnel only to look after this mater. Government should incorporate separate infrastructure law along with building law to solve the stated problem. Only building law is not sufficient,” he adds.
Kolkata is one of India’s largest cities and the established metropolitan hub of eastern India. The city proper has an area of approximately 101 km2 but the suburban area is much outsized, covering more than 1,300 km2. Besides the development of the new cities, the problem still arises at the high rising flat in West Bengal and Kolkata. Recently, Punj Lloyd, engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) conglomerate, said it has won a Rs 99-crore contract for construction of 194 units of luxury houses in Kolkata.
However, people are complaining about the poor service at the rising flat. Mr Mridul Putatunda said in his complaint that he bought a flat in Kolkata in the Bengal DCL, Uttara- Tritiya project few years ago and now he had to shift sooner than most of the local residents because the poor services over here, explaining that the fire fighting system is non operational, thus endangering the lives of all residents staying currently in the buildings.
The real estate developers also have caught the market nerves and are now coming up with projects that are focused on end users. The NRI segment is as always the hottest among all.
A lot of people are looking for the bigger house, which makes the selling of the real estate increase remarkably. According the Real Estate Selling, the number of people buying the real estate is increasing. Ms Saswati Mehrotra, chief advisor of Kolkataproperties.in says that the market for the real estate improve and increase as the new government takes office because they are friendly and open to the people.
Our client comprises of esteemed individuals, domestic and NRIs and the customers prefer to capitalize their expenditure through EMIs rather than spending it, she adds.
Prices from 10 to 15 lakhs and from 25 to 30 lakhs are the very good damand.
“We assure the quality and the service for the customers with good quality of the buildings and we have construction management team to check. We keep the continuity of our standardized service we do have to take care to evaluate our client credibility (through the KYC FORM) prior to offering them our services,” she says.
While a real estate and economic boom is transforming old Kolkata of exceeding 15 million populations to the new city in India, a huge number of people in Kolkata do have shelter to stay, sleeping on the road and are bathing on the street. A lot of slums and dirty places are located near the downtown.
One researcher (M Christiensen, writing on Calcutta in the Encyclopedia of Homelessness Vol 1 2004) thinks that there are five million people living on the streets or in cardboard or bamboo makeshift homes who are not being counted. And up to a half of all Kolkatan families live in just one room (some live four families to a room, each family having just a chowki or cot to themselves – see Times of India, April 4th 2009).
At the same time of development of the high rising buildings, a lot of lands, which can affect the environment, have been allowed to occupy by the government. More than this, people are evicted from the area to make way for the development. This causes land conflict, which is now contentious in Kolkata. Now a huge amount of land has been provided to the private companies to develop the real estate and thousands of poor people are waiting for being relocated from the places for the development of the real estate.
However, the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced in June that there would be no more land acquisition in Rajarhat area of North 24 Parganas district that was begun by the previous Left Front government.
A total of 7,085 acres of land were acquired in Rajarhat of which 250 acres were only bought from willing farmers by the previous government and rest was forcefully acquired. Till now government has 1,807 acres of land with it.
“We know that many farmers were anxious about this thing of land acquisition. But I want to assure them that they should not worry about it,” said Banerjee.