Mishti Hub, a prominent centre showcasing West Bengal’s delectable desserts, is under threat from a proposed expansion of the National Highway 2. Located in Burdwan, the hub is one of the many efforts of the ruling Trinamool Congress government led by Mamata Banerjee.
The proposed expansion would turn NH 2 into a six-lane highway. This would require 40 feet of clearance on both sides of the current stretch of the highway. Two additional lanes to serve as service roads for plying of local traffic have also been planned.
A section of the Mishti Hub will thus have to be dismantled to make way for the NH2.
Soumen Das, secretary, Burdwan Sitabhjog Mihidana Traders’ Welfare Association said that the limited parking space in the hub has discouraged many visitors from coming to the hub.
“The parking space would be curtailed further and a section of the newly-constructed hub would have to be dismantled for the highway,” he rued.
Das added that since its inauguration, only 14 vendors have sought space in the hub.
A meeting was held to discuss the matter. Pradip Chatterjee, ADM (General), said, “We are trying to find ways to popularise the hub.”
“We have already started the first floor construction of the hub. But the NH2 expansion needs some land which falls under the hub area and for that we need to rethink about the further works of the hub,” he added.
Work on the Mishti Hub began on 6 September 2016 after the state government overcame a series of protests organised by tribal groups. Land for the hub – a full 10.5 acres between Alisha and Bamchandaipur localities – was acquired between 2005 and 2007 by the Burdwan Development Authority.
Banerjee had conceived the idea as a hub for confectioners from across the South Bengal districts where different varieties of desserts from the respective districts were to be showcased.
The CM had on 10 January 2017 expressed her disgust at an administrative meeting in Burdwan over the delay in construction of the hub and had asked the district administration to ensure its completion within two months. She eventually inaugurated it on 8 April 2017.
Burdwan is not the only site of Mishti Hub. Similar centres can be found in other parts of Bengal, with one of the most famous located in New Town in Kolkata. The Mishti Hub in New Town houses the state’s most well-known brands of sweets and confectionaries such as KC Das, Ganguram and Banchharam.