Jail shift unlocks Rs 7,000 crore housing bonanza in Kolkata
The prison to prison migration of jail inmates from Alipore to Baruipur, which began on Wednesday with the shifting of the first batch of inmates, marks the beginning of a great shift that can transform the skyline of posh Alipore.
The unlocking of around 120 acres of the prison complex, bigger than 21 football fields, in the heart of the city will make way for housing projects in a neighbourhood where apartments sell for Rs 12,000-15,000 per sq feet.
“A Rs 7,000-crore housing project proposal is coming in the area,” said chief minister Mamata Banerjee at Nabanna on Wednesday. The proposal is part of the Green City-Clean City project that can make room for apartments with all modern facilities. “The city will look better once the project in place with accommodation facilities for many,” the CM added.
Mamata has already asked the state urban development department to prepare a project blueprint. Residents here will get a bonus as hospitality and healthcare facilities have already applied for land in the area, which has a state-of-the-art convention centreSoujanya, along with an open air theatre Uttirna. A 2,000 seater auditorium Dhana Dhanya is coming up in the neighbourhood. The National Library and Alipore Horticulture Garden are two landmarks of the area.
The proposal has come as a windfall for real estate developers. The unlocking of the idle asset will also fetch big revenue for the government as land price in this locality is over Rs 1 crore a cottah. The CM during inauguration of the Soujanya convention centre a fortnight ago had told the audience that she has start 4ed identifying idle assets in the city and will draw up a plan for the city’s beautification.
NanduBelani, president of the Bengal chapter of Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (CREDAI), welcomed the development.
“The idea to have a real estate project cashing in on an idle asset is a sound move,” Belani said. However, he and other realtors were unwilling to comment on the proposal to shift Alipore Zoo as the area was a green zone and attempts to develop it would court unnecessary controversy.
The CM announced the proposal soon after the first lot of 50 convicts from Alipore Central Correctional Home entered Baruipur Central Correctional Home on Wednesday. The convicts, some of whom have spent upto 35 years at Alipore jail, were brought to their new home at Baruipur.
Among the 50 are Md. NasibalaisNaso who has been serving a life term for the last 35 years for the 1984 murder of DC port of Kolkata Police. Another lifer, Siddique Sardar of Bhangor, has so far served 16 years at Alipore for getting his wife murdered by a hired killer after he suspected her of having an extra-marital affair. Sardar wrote his M.A. exam from jail in 2010 and passed. Bird-lover Sankar Jaswara, also a lifer, has served 21 years at Alipore jail for murder. Seven months ago, Jaswara rescued an injured bird after a storm from within the Alipore jail yard. He was released on parole soon after and took the bird to a veterinary doctor for treatment.
The CM inaugurated the new jail by pressing a button from her office at Nabanna. The convicts apart, Assembly speaker Biman Banerjee, state jails minister Ujjal Biswas and director-general (jails) Arun Gupta were present at Baruipur. “More convicts will be brought to the Baruipur jail from Alipore in phases,” said Gupta. The inauguration was followed by a cultural function at which some convicts also performed.
The inauguration marks the opening of the first phase of the Baruipur jail project. “Work on the second phase will hopefullybe completed by March-end,” added Gupta. While the first project’s first phase was built at a cost of Rs 70 crores, the second phase is coming up with an allocation of Rs 98 crores.
The new jail has a hygienic kitchen and toilets. The kitchen is equipped with modern machines like large cookers for rice and rotis. Explaining the facilities, a jail official said, “The new jail will also have an upgraded security arrangement. For instance, the boundary wall of the jail is 25 feet high compared to Alipore jail’s 20 feet boundary. Moreover, there is another 15 feet wall around this wall, acting as a second security ring with several watchtowers all around to prevent prisoners from escaping. There are many more CCTV cameras to keep an eye on prisoners.