SAYONI BHADURI – New Delhi
West Bengal is looking to develop five mega tourism projects and wishes to attract investments worth Rs 3560 crore, informed Vikram Sen, principal secretary, tourism, Government of West Bengal. These include a tourism hub in Gajoldoba on a 208 acre piece of land with investment opportunities worth Rs 1500 crore. The key focus here will be the 18 hole golf course. Kolkata will see the construction of a giant wheel, similar on the lines of London Eye. The total investment is pegged at Rs 800-1000 crore. Apart from the giant wheel, the project will include development of a floating jetty and other entertainment options at the location. The West Bengal state tourism department plans to promote Kunjanagar as an eco tourism hub with a focus on rural tourism, health and spa amenities. There are 90 acre of land available and a total investment of Rs 410 crore is expected. Another 90 acre land has been allotted in Sylee to promote tea tourism at an expected investment of Rs 350 crore. “There are 12 gardens in and around Sylee which can be promoted for tea tourism,” said Sen. The fifth mega project is to be developed in Jhadkhali. On an area of 99 acre and at a total investment of Rs 300 crore various tourism projects are available for the private sector to take up.
Apart from these mega projects, the tourism department is providing ready lands for four- and five-star hotel projects in Dhatura (14 acre), Henry Island (10 acre), Digha (seven acre), Bhaluka Beel (five acre), Salt Lake – Kolkata (three acre). Sen also informed that the tourism department is giving out land for skill development projects like hotel management institutes in Chalsa, Gajoldoba, Barjora, Darjeeling and Budge Budge; food craft institutes in Siliguri, Digha and Panchla; and culinary institutes in Salt Lake-Kolkata and Hooghly.
The state expects to process all bid approvals for these projects by or before August 2013. “As a matter of policy, the state government has decided to embark on the PPP model for all of these projects,” said Sen. The government will provide single window clearance, safety and security measures, etc. Elaborating on the single window clearance, Sen said that there is an online application that an applicant has to fill in and then based on the project requirements the tourism department will gain clearances from various requisite departments. The state is also providing incentives to projects For projects costing more than Rs 50 crore, apart from the mentioned benefits, the government will reimburse 75 per cent of VAT paid in the previous year provided in lieu of interest subsidy.