The port of Kolkata proposes to turn the 320-year-old Barood Ghar or Magazine located about 25 km downstream of the city into a luxury resort. The old structures that remain there will not be touched though to maintain the site’s heritage value.
As per records, the British set up this Magazine at a place called Moyapur on the banks of River Hooghly. Ships entering the port of Kolkata at that time and even those sailing upriver further north were not permitted to carry any gunpowder.
They would anchor at Moyapur, close to Budge Budge and hand over all their gunpowder to those in charge of the magazine.
The handover would be duly acknowledged and documented to ensure that the ships could take back the barrels on their way out towards the sea.
“The plot measures 20.49 acres and has a river frontage of about 500 metres. The site still has four magazines (where the gunpowder was stored) and two pillboxes (guardrooms). There is tremendous heritage value. I do not know of any such location anywhere else in the country. The site is located amidst serene surroundings and is well connected through the Budge Budge Trunk Road. This will be an ideal location for a luxury resort. We have floated an Expression of Interest (EoI) for any private agency that wishes to take the plot on lease and create necessary infrastructure there while protecting the old structures,” Rathendra Raman, chairman, Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port (SMP), Kolkata, said on Wednesday.
The second site for which an EoI has been floated is a 3.11-acre plot between Diamond Harbour and Falta in the district of South 24-Parganas.
This place is known as Noorpur and the plot also has a river frontage.
SMP, Kolkata, has planned to set up an upscale hotel there under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode.
Its proximity to Diamond Harbour, a tourist attraction, will make it an ideal location for such a property. The site, barely 48 km southwest of Kolkata, will attract domestic and foreign tourists.
It is also along the route to the Sagar Island where lakhs of pilgrims flock yearly for a holy dip. The Kapil Muni temple on the island and the beaches are an attraction throughout the year though.
Raman also offered 5 acres of prime riverfront land at Budge Budge, 15 km from Kolkata, for the development of a recreational centre comprising a hotel, mall, cineplex, restaurants, cafes, convention centres and banquets. This would cater to the bustling townships that have come up at Budge Budge and Maheshtala.