The West Bengal cabinet, on March 7, 2019, gave an in-principle approval for an amendment to the West Bengal Thika Tenancy (Acquisition and Regulation) Act, which would allow inhabitants of ‘thika tenancy land’, mostly in the slum areas of Kolkata, Howrah and Asansol, to build G+4 structures, doing away with the present rule of constructing a fixed height of 9.5 metres (two-storey houses). A thika tenancy land is a plot which the government possessed after the zamindari system was abolished.
“We will have to send the proposal to the Law Department and then to the Finance Department, before placing it in the assembly,” the state’s urban development minister, Firhad Hakim said. “The cabinet Thursday approved in principle that people and tenants living on such land under thika tenancy which are mostly slum areas should be allowed to build structures beyond the existing 9.5 metres,” Hakim, who is also the mayor of Kolkata, said.
Around 50,000 people residing on 200 acres of land in Kolkata and 517 acres in Howrah, would now be allowed to build residential structures conforming to the respective corporation building rules, Hakim said. The inhabitants and the tenants, mostly in slum areas of Burrabazar, Aharitola, Jadavpur, Chetla and Topsia in the city, would be allowed to build G+4 residential buildings on their own, he said. Hakim said that as per the proposal, the land owner and the tenant would be able to make alterations but no promoter can be engaged in the construction.
A group of ministers, under the chairmanship of finance minister Amit Mitra, was set up to propose the amendments to the West Bengal Thika Tenancy (Acquisition and Regulation) Act. Meanwhile, Mitra said that the cabinet also decided to select Dubai-based DP World, to set up the Kulpi Port in South 24 Parganas district. The West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC) would own a stake of 11 per cent in the venture, Mitra said.