Kolkata, May 24 (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Thursday inaugurated the first phase of Riverfront Beautification Project along the Ganges, constructed on the lines of Thames riverfront in London.
The beautification of 1.5 km stretch along the river from Princep Ghat to Baje Kadamtala was done at a cost of Rs. 6.50 crore by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation.
Banerjee had promised ahead of the West Bengal state assembly elections last year that if voted to power, she would transform Kolkata into London.
The pavements along the riverfront have been refurbished with marble slabs, anbd aesthetically and brightly lit roadside gardens with music playing in them have sprung up, alongside pavements for walkers.
Victorian era cast iron benches and iron railings have also come up, with fountains adding to the grandeur.
"The Kolkata Municipal Corporation with the help of the state government has done a tremendous job. We had just started this work for the beautification of the Ganga Riverfront seven to eight months back. It is the duty of every citizen to maintain the beauty of the city," said Banerjee, while addressing the inaugural programme.
"I had always believed that we can decorate and beautify Kolkata just like London," she said.
Banerjee claimed that beautification of the rest of 25 kilometres along the riverfront as per the project could not be completed due to objections raised by the Indian Army.
"We are yet to receive the permission from the Army as they have raised some objections. I would request the defence ministry to look into the matter so that we can get the permission as early as possible and start the work for beautification," said Banerjee.
The agency RITES (Rail India Technical and Economic Services) was roped in by the state government to prepare the master plan on river front beautification and its uses.
A police camp will also come up in the area to maintain proper law and order in the area as the area will remain open till midnight.
Banerjee also said that after the completion of entire beautification project and the inauguration of 'Kolkata Eye' - similarly like the famous 'London Eye' - the place will attract lots of foreign tourists.