1999-2006 : Planning of New Town and land acquisition
The New Town Planning Area was declared in 1999, constituting the erstwhile Bhangore Rajarhat Development Authority, comprising 45 Mouzas under the North and South 24 Parganas. Thereafter, a series of studies were made and reports from experts including environment clearance on the Environment Impact Assessment were obtained. With the objective of developing an eco‐friendly green dotted city, New Town was designed to be developed in different phases. The entire area of New Town was divided into Action Areas I, II, and III and a central business district (CBD).Besides, a total area of around 135 hectares was earmarked for setting up Water Treatment Plant and Garbage Disposal Centre for the township.
The New Town Project was designed to be self-sustaining project with cross subsidy from Higher Income Group (HIG) to Lower Income Group (LIG) / Economically Weaker Section.The process of incremental development was adopted in phases. The initial investment for land procurement and development of basic infrastructure like land filling etc. were started by obtaining advances from financial institutions. During the process of land procurement earmarking of the saleable plots are made.
2007-2010 : Formation of NKDA and more development in the township
Taking the township development a step ahead, the New Town Kolkata Development Authority (NKDA) was formed in 2007 as per the New Town, Kolkata, Development Authority Act, 2007, to initiate civic services for the green-field city.
This period witnessed the completion of a plethora of infrastructural facilities in Action Area I, along with infrastructural work in progress for the other Action Areas, to gradually achieve the required land development in the area and make it conducive to urban habitation.
2011-2016: New Town becomes a self-sustaining city with revenue generating assets
The phase is one of the milestones in the history of New Town Kolkata, when under the guidance of Hon’ble Chief Minister of West Bengal Smt. Mamata Banerjee, the township takes a new shape with creation of multiple revenue generating assets that make New Town a self-sustaining city.
Eco Park (Prakriti Tirtha) - With the Hon’ble Chief Minister’s vision of sustainable development and eco-tourism, a 480 acre land in New Town, around a water body was declared to be converted into an ecological garden – the first of its kind in the eastern part of India. Accordingly, WBHIDCO initiated the process to realize this vision. This Eco Tourism Park was inaugurated by the Hon’ble Chief Minister, West Bengal Smt Mamata Banerjee on 29th December, 2012, following which the park was declared open for public. On 27th December 2013, Hon'ble Chief Minister of West Bengal inaugurated a conglomeration of new projects in Eco Park, New Town, which are – Biswa Bangla Haat, Children's Eco Park, Floating Musical Fountain, Butterfly Garden, Play Area, Bamboo Garden, Fruits Garden, Food Court, Adda Zone, Grass Land, Tea Garden, Mask Garden, Formal Garden & Eco Island. Eco Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations, attracting visitors from all around Kolkata and adjoining areas.
Rabindra Tirtha – Commemorating the 150th birth anniversary of Kabiguru Rabindranath Tagore, WBHIDCO took the initiative to set up a cultural and research centre dedicated to Tagore – Rabindra Tirtha – over a 4.89 acre area in the heart of New Town. The centre, inaugurated on 7th August, 2012, by Hon’ble Chief Minister, West Bengal, Smt Mamata Banerjee, has facilities including auditorium, art galleries, exhibition halls, mini cinema hall and music room. There is also digital archive on life and works of Tagore, along with cottages and dormitories for research residents.
Nazrul Tirtha – Another cultural and educational centre and vibrant community space that came up in New Town during this period was Nazrul Tirtha, which was inaugurated on 24th May 2014 by Hon’ble Chief Minister, West Bengal, Smt Mamata Banerjee, marking the occasion of the 115th birth anniversary of Bengal’s celebrated poet Kazi Nazrul Islam.The centre houses a well-organized museum displaying the time and life of Kazi Nazrul Islam through rare photographs, personal items, documents, paintings etc. Additionally, it has two art galleries for exhibitions in the ground and first floor, four double-bed air-conditioned guest rooms for visitors to stay at Nazrul Tirtha, a state-of-the-art open-air theatre for staging performing arts, as well as three movie auditoriums.
Mother’s Wax Museum – To make New Town distinguishably highlighted in the Tourist Map of India, it has been conceived to establish a WAX MUSEUM in the city. Covering a sprawing 26000 sq.ft area spread across the 5th and 6th floor of the Finance Centre, the museum has wax statues of more than 50 eminent personalities across the globe. The museum was unveiled in November 2014, and since then it has remained a popular tourist attraction for New Town.
2017-Present: New Town becomes a Green Smart City
New Town embarks on its journey as a Smart City, under the Smart Cities Mission of the Government of India during this phase, which adds another feather to the township’s cap of achievements. Thus, New Town becomes a green smart city, with its commitment to creating state-of-the-art infrastructure, amenities, and facilities, while enhancing the city’s ease-of-living quotient in a sustainable and eco-friendly manner.
To that end, New Town came up with multiple innovative projects. It is during this period that New Town gets its unique identity with the iconic Biswa Bangla Gate, which is now one of the most spectacular spots in the township attracting visitors to its viewing gallery and ringed restaurant atop the gate – one of the first of its kinds in eastern India.
On the infrastructural front, this phase witnessed New Town authorities’ untiring efforts towards developing modern facilities of international standard such as the Biswa Bangala Convention Centre, Snehodiya – a retirement haven for senior citizens, Smart Library – a world-class facility bridging the traditional library with its technology-equipped online counterpart, solar powered as well as cloud-connected, energy-saving street lighting systems, along with pedestrian friendly pathways, graded cycle tracks promoting cycling, and introduction of electric buses and set up of multiple EV charging stations throughout the city to promote green transport, and many more.
It is in this period that New Town has been recognized with the prestigious acclaims by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) for being an exemplary township that underlines environment-friendliness in every sphere of its operations and interventions, thus becoming a model of excellence in urban sustainability. In 2018, the township was conferred with IGBC Green Building – Gold Rating, while in 2020, the city was awarded with the even more esteemed Platinum rating. This makes New Town one of the only 5 cities in the country to have received the highest honour.
New Town has several interventions ongoing, which are envisioned to turn the township into a model smart city that focuses on enhancing its ease-of-living, through innovation, inclusion, and sustainability.