Kolkata’s twin city Howrah is all set to regain its lost glory. As an important offshoot of the recent Bengal Global Business Summit, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will fund a Rs 2,000-crore industrial hub project either in Liluah or Belur where Howrah Municipal Corporation (HMC) has plots ready for handover.
On Wednesday, Japanese consul general in Kolkata, Masayuki Taga, will lead a site-selection team to both the plots -200 acres in Liluah’s Pinjrapole and 135 acres along G T Road in Belur. The hub is expected to generate 15,000-20,000 direct jobs.
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Howrah mayor Rathin Chakraborty said, “During the recent Bengal Global Business Summit, chief minister Mamata Banerjee took the initiative to arrange a meeting between me and the Japanese consul general. The CM herself was also present at the meeting. At that meeting, I told the Japanese consul general that HMC had two idle plots, one each in Liluah and Belur, and sought Japanese help in developing industrial infrastructure by setting up a hub for micro, small and medium industries in at least one of these locations. The Japanese diplomat requested a detailed written proposal which we later submitted.”
He added: “Officials of HMC and state industries and enterprises department also engaged in discussion with Japanese officials. It was decided that JICA will give Rs 2,000 crore to set up an industrial hub at one of the proposed sites. On Monday, we received communication from the Japanese Consulate that the consul general would visit both the sites on Wednesday to finalise the location. Thus, February 22 will be a red letter day – not only for Howrah, but for Bengal too.”
Dwelling on features of the industrial hub, HMC sources said, “JICA will fund the hub with modern infrastructure. It will have its own underground water reservoir, booster pumping station, power stations, two effluent treatment plants along with sewage facilities, a large number of industrial sheds for MSME units and roads. It will also have its own fire safety system. After site selection, a tripartite agreement will be signed next month between JICA, the state government and HMC. Following this, work on the detailed project report (DPR) will be undertaken by HMC engineers with technical expertise from IIEST, Shibpur.”
MSME units that will shift from elsewhere in Howrah to the hub or new industries that take sheds there will be assisted in marketing their produce. HMC’s Nabanna Development Zone chairman Saikat Chowdhury said, “After the DPR, a decision on floating a tender will be taken.”