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Short history of WBHIDCO Ltd and various stakeholders

The concept of setting up of 100 new towns , each with a population of 0.5-1 million in the entire country was conceived by the Planning Commission in the 9th Five Year Plan Document. In view of this Government of West Bengal (GoWB) had initially prepared concept plans for development of two new towns , one at West Howrah on the Western bank of River Hooghly and another in the eastern side of the city of Calcutta comprising parts of North and South 24 Parganas. The objective was to ease the pressure on the old city of Calcutta where the population as per the 1991 census was already 12 million. It was also contemplated that the population of the city would be around 20 million in 2021, thus over-loading the old city with nearly 90% more population.

Based on this the Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) prepared a draft concept plan in May 1994. On the basis of that , Housing Department of GoWB was assigned with the task of developing a “New Town” at the eastern fringe of Kolkata. Department of Architecture and Regional Planning of I.I.T Kharagpur prepared a master land use plan for the township. The concept of developing New Town, Kolkata comprising a major part of Rajarhat block of North 24 Pgs and some Mouzas of Bhangar-II block of South 24 Pgs (outside the wet land area) was thus originated.

The initial planning, designing etc. were with about 9,000 acres of land comprising four Action Areas i.e. Action Area-1 (AA-1), Action Area-II ( AA-II), Action Area-III ( AA-III) , Action Area-IV (AA-IV) and one vast Central Business District (CBD).

Procurement of land for the township was started in the year 1994-95. The procurement of land was initiated through 2 processes. (i) direct purchase from the willing land owners and (ii) by acquisition process through Land Acquisition Act. Both the processes went on simultaneously with the support of land owners as well as the political and local Government functionaries. The total acquired land is about 7051.92 acres for AA-1, AA-II, AA-III and CBD. Out of this, 212.33 acres of land has been purchased directly and 6839.59 Acres of land were acquisitioned.

The main objective of development of New town through Housing Department , GoWB was to create affordable housing stock for the general people including EWS, LIG, MIG and HIG at affordable prices. Housing Department initially started the activities through its parastatal West Bengal Housing Board (WBHB). After the take off of the township styled as “New Town, Kolkata” a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) was incorporated on 26th April, 1999, pursuant to a Cabinet Decision of the Govt. of West Bengal vide its Notification No.642-H1/NTP/1M-9/98 dated 19th April, 1999 for formation of a Govt. Company as “West Bengal Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited” bearing Registration No.21-89276 of 1999 under Companies Act 1956, under administrative control of the Dept. of Housing & Public Health Engineering, GoWB on the same concept of CIDCO of Navi Mumbai. Subsequently, Certificate of Commencement of business U/s. 149(3) of the Companies Act, 1956 was issued by Registrar of Companies, West Bengal on 10th June, 1999. The CIN of the Company is U70101WB1999SGC089276. WBHIDCO Ltd was also declared Planning Authority under West Bengal Town Planning and Country (Planning and Development) Act 1979. This SPV was formed with a single target of developing a modern township of New Town, Kolkata . But prior to the formation of HIDCO in April 26, 1999, the WBHB was entrusted by the State Housing Department to look after the New Town Project and also to meet all expenses towards Planning & Development. The entire land was acquired through LA process and WBHB handed over the land to WBHIDCO Ltd. against recovery of cost of such acquisition. Shareholding of the Company is restricted to –

i) Govt. of West Bengal,
ii) West Bengal Housing Board, and
iii) WBIDC.
iv) Few Govt officers holding 1 Share

The initial Share Capital of the Company was Rs 297.50 Lakh which was contributed by the Govt. of West Bengal and WBIDC . After the commencement of business on 10.06.1999, the new Company took over all tasks & responsibilities from WBHB for the New Town Project. The township is well designed concept of modern technology comprising of well-planned road network, green bodies, modern drainage & sewerage system and communication network. To achieve that objective NTTIDCO a subsidiary of HIDCO was formed in 23rd May, 2006, where HIDCO has contributed a share capital (51%) of Rs 53.55 Lakh for laying underground ducts all around New Town to make it free of overhead hanging wires (Cable television, telecom and multi-system operators pay rent for using the conduits) .The CBD of the township comprises 449 acres of land mainly for transfer of a major part of the Central Business District of the old Kolkata to this township. The main objective of WBHIDCO is to develop New Town as a world class planned township with all basic infrastructure. The financial policy of the project is to develop it in a self-sustained way without much dependence on budgetary provision. A good number of projects within the township including infrastructural development such as Roads, flyover network, electrification etc. are still to be completed. The initial distribution of land was processed through public lottery after proper advertisement in different types of media, as from the beginning response from the people were enormous. The pricing of residential plots are differentiated according to the category of buyers.

Your company takes pride as being the pioneer in initiating development of the new township based on the most modern concepts of town planning. Development work for New Town Project mainly covered the acquisition of land, construction of the bridge over Krishnapur Canal from Salt Lake side, construction of the Thakdari Road from Kazi Nazrul Islam Sarani, New Town Project office building etc. A major contract of earth filling and construction of roads on 150 Hectare land in Action Area-I was awarded to IRCON International Ltd., a civil construction company owned by the Ministry of Railways, Govt. of India. WBHIDCO has developed a vast Eco Park along with a huge water body, the largest urban park in the country including some other entertainment facilities to create a social atmosphere for the people of the country. ‘World Urban Parks’ an international body for Parks has recognised it by awarding a prestigious prize. Besides, the township has already developed a good number quality local parks and grounds in different areas of the city. In addition to above some cultural and social hubs including Rabindra Tirtha, Nazrul Tirtha, Misti Hub (Sweets Hub), Eco Urban Village, New Town Library, Mother’s Wax Museum and New Town Business Club have been developed. A world class convention centre and Biswa Bangla Gate have also been developed. HIDCO is trying to develop New Town as a futuristic smart city. New Town was declared a Smart City by Govt. of India under its Smart City Mission on 25.05.2016 . An SPV called Newtown Kolkata Green Smart City Corporation Limited was found in August 2018 when HIDCO has contributed a Share Capital (11%) of Rs. 11 lakh. HIDCO is developing all infrastructures like roads, drains, sewerage line, water supply lines, major beautification works and other related major works as per master plan. Recently Govt. of West Bengal has taken a decision to develop a major IT Hub titled “Bengal Silicon Valley Hub” on 200 acres of land at a special concessional promotional price of 4.7 crores per acre ( nearly at 1/4th of the market price) to create an atmosphere of developing the IT & Telecommunication industry and thereby creating huge employment potential in the entire Eastern India. IT giants etc are setting up their unit here.
Hidco’s partners in building the New Town area are :

i. PHED – Public Health Engineering Deptt – overlooking the clean and safe water
ii. I&W Deptt – overlooking the canals
iii. West Bengal State Electricity Deptt - – overlooking the Electricity needs
iv. NKDA (New Town Kolkata Development Authority) is working as urban local Body of New Town.