KMDA vow to restore old glory of Kumartuli

Written by Economy Bureau | Kolkata | Updated: Mar 1 2009, 06:40am hrs
Kumartuli, the countrys only potters town nestled in the lap of Kolkata, churns out Rs 8-9 crore every year by selling their sculptures in India and abroad. But the turnover is likely to double itself to Rs 16-20 crore once the revamping and overhauling of the crumbling and decaying town is done by the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority by 2010.

Kolkata mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya said that a multitude of international as well as domestic tourists come to visit Kumartuli, but the eroding signs of the town is the main hurdle in the way of attracting more tourists to the citys pottery neighbourhood. Besides, acute shortage of basic amenities are posing difficulties for the artisans to work in a healthy environment, so the KMDA has come forward to restore the old glory of the artisans town.

The project called Kolkata Kumartuli Punornobikoron would witness the place turning to a pottery hub with homes for the artisans, large space for making the idols, health centre, community centres and better infrastructure in terms of electricity, water, reservoirs a park.

"As many as 524 artisan families are there now who would be shifted to the public health engineering & health departments godown from March till the project work is over," said chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. The project would cost around Rs 27 crore to be borne by the Union government as well as KMDA.

Ward numbers 8 & 9 in the Kumartuli area would be revamped where quite a few numbers of G+3 buildings would come up in four blocks. The ground floors would have the space for making the idols and shops for selling the same and other floors would be resided by the families. "We make almost 10,000-12,000 Durga and Kali idols every year and now after this revamping we hope to touch a turnover of Rs 16-20 crore," said a delighted Mintu Pal, president of Kumartuli Mritshilpo Sanskritik Samity.

When asked about problems the artisans might face due to the shift, Pal said: "The godowns are only a two-minute walk from where we are now and so there would be no problem for us. We are very happy that the project has taken off."

The skilled artisans would be benefited in all ways from this project as well as a great many number of tourists would be attracted to the new rejuvinated Kumartuli and would be able to take a glimpse of the citys unique and enthralling crafting skills, the chief minister said.