Kolkata: Mall, auditorium in riverfront makeover plan

The city’s riverfront is set for a major makeover with Kolkata Port authorities revealing a development blueprint that proposes to transform prime real estate around the Armenian Ghat jetty, that has been lying waste for decades, into a happening zone with hotel, banquet hall, shopping mall and offices.

There are also plans to set up an auditorium/sports complex and multi-car parking plaza at an adjoining plot of land. The Armenian Ghat jetty will also be restored and refurbished for people to take a cruise or ferry across the river.

“We are looking at a public-private partnership to develop three parcels of land along the river Hooghly. Tenders will be floated for development proposals. The bidders will be required to submit detailed project reports, marketing strategies, tie ups and business plan for revenue generation from the plot. The idea is to develop it as an entertainment hub. Lease will be given for a period of 30 years,” an official said.

The three plots comprise a 4,490 sqm vacant land between Strand Road and Strand Bank Road that housed the Strand Warehouse till it was burnt down in a devastating inferno several years ago, a 4,390 sqm plot adjoining the river that has the Armenian Ghat shed, and a 4,670 sqm plot with a section burnt down that houses the jetty shed.

The three sites, next to each other, is near the Howrah Bridge and adjacent to the Circular Railway line. With the Howrah Station complex located across the river, Port authorities feel this development around Armenian Ghat could become a shopping and leisure destination, attracting tourists and travellers. “There are many tourists who arrive at Howrah Station and then wait for several hours to board a train later in the day. With the development just across the river and accessible by ferry, they can cross over in 10 minutes, shop, eat and enjoy the vista,” said another official.

With BBD Bag — a prime business area — where every corporate house wants to be present but is not able to due to lack of modern infrastructure, the office complex that is proposed will be a boon for many companies to check in. Apart from the riverbank development, the ministry of ports, shipping and waterways is also planning to promote river cruise in the Hooghly as part of the Maritime India Vision 2030.

The Armenian jetty will be key to promotion of heritage tours to Belur Math, Dakshineswar and Chandernagore to the north and Falta, Diamond Harbour, Raichak or Garchumuk to the south.

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