The state government has given IIT-Kharagpur the task of developing a plan to make the satellite township of New Town “a happy city”.
Speaking with The Sunday Express, Additional Chief Secretary Debashish Sen says the government has “partnered” with IIT-Kharagpur for the project, which will take a year to complete.
“They have already made some preliminary suggestions which we are implementing, such as the setting up of coffee shops along deserted stretches to make the area safer for women,’’ said Sen. New Town has in recent months seen a spike in cases of violence against women, and the government is looking at ways and means to address the issue, said, officials.
“The IIT-Kharagpur study has found that gender sensitivity is not good in New Town, which is still sparsely crowded and wears a desolate look despite there being many buildings. A large number of people, working in the IT sector in New Town, Rajarhat, are women. They suffer from a sense of insecurity, particularly when they return home from their workplace, even though the township offers reasonably good policing and lighting infrastructure. The solution suggested by IIT-Kharagpur is to have coffee shops or shops so that these stretches are not deserted,” said Sen, who is also the CMD of West Bengal Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation (HIDCO).
HIDCO has already set up a coffee shop at Chinar Park. Sen also said that with particulate matter (PM) reasonably high in the area, HIDCO is also working on a plan to plant more trees in New Town.
“The Bengal government is resolute about building a strong and thriving start-up ecosystem and enabling entrepreneurship in the state. About 10,000 start ups are working in Bengal. The state government’s Silicon Valley project is designed to facilitate innovation and entrepreneurship. Under this project, the government is working on a plan to provide co-working spaces on a weekly/monthly/yearly rental basis. The project report is not ready yet. There is also a need for having permanent exhibition centres where the talent of the youth of the Bengal can be showcased,” he said.