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Physical Infrastructure
Better Infrastructure = Bigger Investments
Keeping this major factor in mind, the state Government has laid great emphasis on strengthening existing and building new infrastructure to encourage more investments. The State offers a relatively developed physical and social infrastructure that has become instrumental in attracting the attention of investors both domestic as well as international. In order to develop, upgrade and maintain infrastructure facilities, the Government of West Bengal recognises and encourages Public-Private partnerships.
Connecting Bengal to the World…
The state of West Bengal is served by 92,023 km of roads within which, the National Highways cover a span of 2578 kms and State Highways 2,393 Km. The road density is 1.04 km per sq km, which is considerably higher than the national average of 0.75 km. Keeping in mind the need for speed and quality in connectivity and a vehicle population that is growing at over 11% per annum, the GoWB has taken up an ambitious infrastructure renewal and expansion program
Some of the key initiatives in the roads sector are:
The North South Economic Order developed with the support of ADB at a cost of US$ 210 million with a view to link the southern ports of Haldia and Kolkata with the northern hinterland of the State.
The North South Corridor
Dankuni - Kolaghat, Dankuni – Kharagpur National Highway project. Vivekananda Bridge which is an approach to NH2 has been completed.
Four laning of NH41 from Kolkaghat to Haldia, NH31 passing through North Bengal, NH117 from Kona to Netaji Subhas Docks, NH35 from Barasat to Petrapole and NH31 from Kolkata to Dalkhola.
The State Government has also taken up Eastern link Highway project (100km) connecting Barasat to Raichak.
31 km long State Highway linking NH31 from Siliguri to Jalpaiguri via Falakata to be upgraded to National Highway
Some major stretches of the Golden Quadrilateral project undertaken by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) will pass through major North Bengal Districts.
Entire stretch of roads connecting Bengal with the North Eastern States and Bihar has been strengthened and improved.
Entire stretch of NH2 connecting Kolkata to New Delhi is being widened to 4 lanes. The Durgapur and Kona Expressways are fully operational and provide easier access to Kolkata from NH2
Under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, the State Government has taken the initiative to come up with a Rs. 27 billion action plan which includes extension and widening of arterial roads, widening and strengthening of secondary roads, construction of pedestrian underpasses, bridges, flyovers, elevated roads, traffic and transportation systems including modern passenger dispersal systems. Several foreign companies are already in the fray to partner the GoWB in its efforts for improvement of roads. Indonesia based Salim Group would be constructing the Eastern Link Highway from Barasat to Raichak, and two Four Lane Road Bridges across the Hooghly and Haldi rivers facilitating connectivity between Kolkata and the port city of Haldia.
West Bengal is well connected by 4154.98 km of railway tracks of which some 2227.73 km run on electricity.

The East West Metro Corridor Project connecting Salt Lake to Howrah is already under implementation. The state Government is also considering the extension of East-West Metro from Salt Lake to NSC Bose Airport
Rail Coverage – West Bengal
Particulars Total
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
Broad Gauge – Route Kilometer 4042.92 4161.30 4154.98
Meter Gauge – Route Kilometer 238.93 180.62 106.14
Narrow Gauge – Route Kilometer 220.01 220.01 220.01
Number of Railway Stations 801 797 800
Passengers Originating (‘000) 1168477 1225005 1286173
Source: Economic Review 2008-09 & 2009-10, GoWB
Kolkata is well connected to the rest of India and all other prime locations of the world by the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport. Kolkata Airport had international traffic of 1.01 million and domestic traffic of 6.45 million in 2007-08. Currently, the Kolkata International Airport is being modernized with an investment of US$ 30 million, which includes the development of a new integrated cargo complex. There is another airport at Bagdogra, which links Siliguri with the important destinations within the country. The importance of Bagdogra airport has increased with Siliguri becoming the gateway to North Eastern States and a vital trade and logistics hub for the entire region. The State Government has set up a perishable goods cargo complex at Bagdogra airport. The State Government is actively engaged in making the existing airport at Cooch Behar fully operational with the help of the Airports Authority of India.
Passengers handled in major Airport in West Bengal
Airport Category 2007-08 2006-07 % Change 2005-06 % Change
NSCBI Domestic 6451430 5187867 24.36 3664548 41.57
Airport International 1007502 805191 25.13 742247 8.48
  Total 7458932 5993058 24.46 4406795 36.00
Bagdogra Domestic 338065 259134 30.96 186837 38.70
Airport International NIL NIL NIL NIL NIL
  Total 338065 259134 30.46 186837 38.70
Source: Airports Authority of India

The Government of India has declared the entire stretch of Ganges between Haldia and Allahabad as National Waterway (NW1). The 560 km Haldia – Farakka stretch of NW1 in West Bengal will be developed as a part of the multi modal system for cargo tariff from Nepal, Bhutan, North Bengal & North Eastern States.

The Transport Department, GoWB has initiated plans to reclaim the North Canal system, a 43 kms stretch of canal that stretches from the river Hooghly right across to the river Raimangal on the Bangladesh border. This was once the artery of trade which can restore trade links and lead to substantial economic development of the region.

The state of West Bengal has two modern ports – Kolkata and Haldia which together handled 54.22 million tonnes of cargo in 2008-09. During 2008-09, Kolkata Port ranked ‘fifth’ amongst all Indian major ports in terms of cargo handling. Currently both ports are being modernized and upgraded to cope with the growth in cargo. An outlay of US$ 222.26 million has been projected in the 11th Plan for Kolkata Port Trust. The outlay for Kolkata Dock System is in tune of US$ 45.17 million and that of Haldia Dock Complex is US$ 83.15 million.

In addition, a new 3000 acre port-cum-Special Economic Zone is coming up in Kulpi in collaboration with Dubai based DP World. The process of setting up a Deep Sea Port near Kolkata has been initiated by the Ministry of Shipping, Government of India. Recently a deep-sea fishing harbour has been approved which will increase the export of marine fish and fish products to over 25,000 tonnes per year.
Kolkata Dock System (KDS) handled traffic of 12.428 million tonnes in 2008-2009 as against 13.741 million tonnes in 2007-2008. At Haldia Dock Complex (HDC), 41.792 million tonnes of traffic was handled in 2008-2009 as against 43.588 million tonnes in 2007-2008.
During the last nine-year period, from 2000-2001 to 2008-2009, Kolkata Port increased its cargo volume by 24.22 million tonnes (80.73%).
The Inland Water Traffic at KDS increased to 10.69 lakh tonnes in 2007-08 from 8.63 lakh tonnes in 2006-07, i.e. a growth of 23.87% was registered.
Sea board traffic handled by the two ports in the year 2007 - 2008 was 57.482 million tonnes.

West Bengal has been a pioneer in power development over the years. NASSCOM-Gartner ranks West Bengal’s power infrastructure as the best in the country. There has been an installed capacity of 9629.9 MW in the State in 2008-09.

Power Generation in the State is handled by various units – The West Bengal State Electricity Board, the West Bengal Power Development Corporation Ltd. and Durgapur Projects Ltd. (State Sector); Damodar Valley Corporation and the National Thermal Power Corporation (Central Sector); and the Calcutta Electric Supply Company and Dishergarh Power Supply Company (Private Sector). Electricity Generation in the State is in tune of 47471.9 million units. During the 12th five year plan 3350 MW is likely to be added in the state power sector through new projects to be undertaken by WBPDCL, DPL and CESC. Besides these, the proposed green field steel/aluminium plants are likely to add substantial capacity in the power sector as captive source of their plants. Steps have been taken by most of the power generating agencies for addition of significant capacity of 4570 MW by 2010-11/2011-12.The state government is encouraging setting up of renewable energy based power plants and around 60 MW capacity is likely to be added in the renewable energy sector by 2009-10.

Kolkata, the state’s capital offers more than 580 Mbps of international satellite connectivity through VSNL & 5 STPI Earth Stations at Kolkata, Durgapur, Kharagpur, Haldia and Siliguri. Cable connectivity is provided through leased BSNL lines to Mumbai & onward connectivity through submarine cables. Besides BSNL, private players like Reliance Infocomm, Vodafone & Bharti Airtel also connect Kolkata to the rest of the world. A submarine cable landing station is likely to be set up at Digha. The State considers IT a basic mission that can help the people uplift their standard of living. The Government of West Bengal has adopted measures to spread IT infrastructure right across the state. Reliance Group has set up a well spread out Optical Fibre Cable network in the State, which is a part of their National Broadband Access Project. The BSNL optical fibre network extends over 15,000 route kilometers and has ensured connectivity on demand even at the block level. This has facilitated e-governance, telemedicine, and wide connectivity throughout the state. Connectivity upto block level has been established in all nineteen districts. The BSNL optical fibre network has ensured connectivity at the block level.The cellular network has made spectacular inroads into the state. The state as a whole had 27.22 million mobile subscribers during 2008-09 as against 17.22 million in 2007-08 registering an increase by 58%.The share of West Bengal mobile subscribers on an all India basis stood at 6.9% during 2008-09 as against 6.6% during 2007-08.
© 2006, WBIDC
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