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Welcome to Kolkata Shining

This is Rajarhat, where the state government has acquired thousands of acres of land to develop a mega city, with one of the largest IT parks, mega housing projects, multiplexes, hospitals, golf clubs, the works.

The new road to the Kolkata airport caresses Rajarhat, where an expanse of land as far as the eye can reach is being developed. Another Gurgaon in the making, hopes the Left front government.

Never mind those who say the Environment Impact Assessment for Rajarhat was an eyewash. That land has been bought from farmers for 10,000 to Rs 12,000 per acre and sold to builders for Rs 300,000 to Rs 400,000 per acre - incidentally State Land Reforms Minister Abdur Razzak Mollah wanted to resign over the issue. That those farmers are now going to have to change into security guards, gatekeepers, mechanics, plumbers.

The CPI-M calls these dissenting voices weeping crocodiles.

Another question is just when Rajarhat will develop into what it is being touted as. Because West Bengal's record of building townships - for which it blames New Delhi's industrial policies -- is not trophy material.

If Rajarhat does assume its meaning -- king's market -- about two million people will live here.

Where are those people?

One of India's top private sector banks deals in home loans worth Rs 40 crore to 50 crore per month in Kolkata. The same figure for Mumbai is roughly Rs 140 crore.

Another not-so-big bank gets business worth about Rs 10 crore per month from home loans in Kolkata. That bank's corresponding figure in Bangalore is approximately Rs 85 crore.

And no, Rajarhat - with builders like DLF and Unitech -- is not selling cheap by any standards. Neither is the real estate boom limited to this north-eastern fringe of Kolkata.

A new high rise in Jodhpur Park, which is prime property in south Kolkata, has 120 flats. In two years, it has sold about 65 flats, a sizable chunk of which were bought by non-resident Indians.

Also See: 'Marxists don't know what's development'

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