ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago: Development of Calcutta.

Editorial from Volume XIII, No. 2, January 14, 1961.

The World Bank, it is no secret, had looked askance at our coal policy. This part of the Hoff-man Report, which was supposed to be highly confidential, was the first to leak out, and as usual in Delhi, it was the trained seal which caught the fish. The leakage might have been deliberate, considering that it was followed, soon after, by action. The coal policy has been revised; restrictions on private sector collieries to open new fields have been relaxed. And hav-ing thus made due amends, Swaran Singh may expect an injection of foreign funds – via some subsidiary of the World Bank, presumably – to tone up coal production in the private sector. The development of the City of Calcutta and its environs, for which the Hoffman Team had made out a forceful case, was cold-shouldered at first. Even the Chief Minister of West Bengal was not officially informed of this recommen-dation nor was a copy of the confidential report supplied to him. But things have now started moving in a big way – but only after the West Bengal Assembly passed unanimously a non-official resolution, calling upon the West Bengal Government to set up a Statutory Calcutta Met-ropolitan Board to implement the scheme of development which had been drawn up by an earlier W H O Team of Experts. The latter, pri-marily concerned with public health problems, had confined themselves to water-supply, drain-age, sewerage and disposal of garbage. Even for that purpose, they had found that the constitu-tion of a superior authority would be necessary, covering the area now being very inadequately served by the Calcutta Corporation and a number of petty municipalities.

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