Chhatisgarh Plans A New Capital

New Delhi, July 24: | Updated: Jul 25 2002, 05:30am hrs
The government of the central Indian state of Chhatisgarh wants a new capital. It believes that Raipur, the present capital, is a bit of a slum and needs to be expanded. The plan therefore is to build a Greater Raipur, which shall encompass the existing towns of Raipur, Bhillai and Durg, and a new urban centre spanning 7,000 hectares. Sources said an Indo-Singaporean consortia submitted a concept plan to the state government today. This includes a plan on displacement.

The outlay for Greater Raipur is Rs 4,500 crore. The financing methodology has a build-operate-transfer component. Some important works, including the state secretariat and the Vidhan Sabha, will be done through public-private joint venture partnerships: here the governments contribution will be limited to land resources.

A senior state official told FE that the state can afford a seed capital of around Rs 100 crore. Another Rs 1,000 crore is being disbursed by the Asian Development Bank (Chhatis-garh has the status of focus state). Other funding is being tied up with the European Union and some multilateral institutions.

A consortia comprising town planners PWD Consultants of Singapore, Consulting Engineering Services of Delhi, and Mumbai-based Darashaw & Company have been selected out of a global bid from 23 firms.

Earlier this month, an initial plan was discussed by the state cabinet. It involved the displacement of 26 villages. This has now been changed in view of brewing opposition to any displacement. The plan submitted today has a fool-proof displacement component, a senior official said. He elaborated that now the villages will co-exist with the new urban pockets. This would ensure what chief minister (Ajit Jogi) told citizen groups recently on the value of their land: That the farmer in this region will need sacks to keep the money he will make! Greater Raipur will be formally announced on November 1.

Chhatisgarh has had a bit of luck on its side. In contrast to a messy fight between Bihar and Bengal over a new railway zone, new zone has come Chhatisgarhs way without much effort. This will boost the local economy because the state will be able to control rake movements for freight traffic from Bilaspur. As for roads, a major contract is about to be inked with a Malaysian group to build state highways on a BOT basis.