Left Front seeks white paper on Writers’ renovation

Kolkata : Asserting that the restoration and renovation work of the Writers’ Buildings would incur a loss of over Rs.3,000 crore, West Bengal’s opposition Left Front has demanded a white paper on the issue.

Raising questions over the efficacy of renovating the heritage building which has been housing the state secretariat, Leader of Opposition Surjya Kanta Mishra has written to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee demanding a white paper.

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Describing it as a “tinder box”, Banerjee last year had announced the ambitious project of restoring and renovating the Writers’ and temporarily shifted the state secretariat to HRBC building in the neighbouring Howrah.

“Besides the cost of shifting several government establishments to many different locations, the demolition of healthy and serviceable structures inside the Writers’ would result in loss of Rs.3,000 crore.

“The associated collateral damages would cost several hundred crores, at the same time it is yet to be ascertained what would be the total project cost,” Mishra said in the letter, dated June 18.

Claiming that the renovation work, scheduled to commence Jan 1 last, was yet to begin, he also sought to know if inputs from experts, civil society members and heritage enthusiasts have been taken.

“It is also not known if the dedicated website supposed to have been created for the purpose, has been launched yet.

“In the circumstances stated above, I would request that a white paper be published by the state government in the matter, at the earliest,” Mishra said.