Sunday, December 7, 2014

World Bank Team for Hoogly Riverfront Development

On Friday last, I had a detailed meeting with a World Bank team that was in Kolkata from 3-6 Dec 2014. Among other works, they took a ride on the boat on Hoogly, met Commissioner KMC Khalil Ahmed, CEO KMDA Surinder Gupta and Dy Chairman KoPT Manish Jain. A wrap up meeting took place on Friday. The World Bank Team here was headed by Ms Charlene J. Chichgar. A planning expert from the Thompson Design Group of Boston Mr Pratap Talwar gave a presentation. I told that while two reports on Hoogly Riverfront Development were already with us (one by School of Architecture and Planning, Delhi and the other by BUIDL/ILFS), what we lacked was a long-term framework and a short-term action plan. I said that ideally the riverfront should a predominantly public space with residential and commercial development beyond the public zone, mostly pedestrianized, as far as possible. For this, I suggested, the circular railway could be converted into an underground metro railway to free up space and cut clutter and simultaneously improve transportation efficiency. Even the Strand Road could be pushed underground into a tunnel road. Cantilever decks over the water would also give space to develop the riverfront. However, I emphasized that any development should be in-situ and inclusive that integrated existing users. Mr Talwar gave examples around the world but cautioned that it had taken decades - sometimes 30 years or so - in some cases to complete the transformation. I added that like the London Thames Association, we too need a dedicated, focussed institute to take the project forward in small but definite steps. The World Bank agreed that a plan framework could be worked out through a Technical Assistance Programme but it would take 8-12 months to complete it. A photo:

Me, DG KMC, Sharlene Chichgar, KMC Engineer Dua,
Pratap Talwar, Stefania Abakerli (World Bank)
* * *
We started the infrastructure works in Action Area  IIIB of New Town on Friday. A photo:

In site, in front of a drawing showing water, sewerage, water tank and
sewage lifting stations to be constructed:
MLA, Zilla Parishad Member, Pradhan are seen in the photo 
  * * *
Here are a few clippings:

(Above and below) Salt Lake Telgraph dt 5 Dec 2014

t2 dt 3 Dec 2014


  1. At last some good news from work in Action Area III B, hopefully work will complete soon.

  2. I can't agree more about what you stated on the riverfront. I believe roping in pvt. companies can ensure fast and easy financed process. Also, as you suggested a SPV sort of special organisation is most suitable.

  3. Dear Sir,

    You are indeed a true visionary ! The ideas of beautification of the riverfront are excellent.

    The circular rail should indeed be converted to an underground metro line - preferably using tunnel boring technique, since cut and cover would be a big nightmare and scar the waterfront during construction. As an alternative to making strand road underground - a short one-way tunnel of less than 1km can be considered from Netaji Subhas Rd in front of GPO to the ramp of Howrah bridge. All bridge bound traffic can then be diverted along NS road instead of strand road. Some provision for underground parking should also be there on the waterfront - similar to the one in front of New market.

    1. I agree with Sudipta. Converting circular railway into underground Metro and making strand road underground is the way to go