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New Delhi: An unending labyrinth of pre-Victorian warehouses on the Hooghly, used by the British Raj to store salt for the Empire’s nerve-centre Calcutta, will likely be a major money-spinner for the Indian Railways that is seeking to develop the waterfront land parcel housing the Salt Golah ruins.

Located on the western bank of the river, Salt Golah in Howrah is currently a seemingly endless collection of dilapidated stocking sheds, with crumbling walls, rusting iron beams and creeper- covered posts quickly vanishing before wild shrubs and overgrowth of wild, tropical trees. But its prime location, where the subcontinent’s Salt Commissioner once stayed during the Raj, should fetch the Railways handsome money – about Rs 800 crore – in a land deal.

The Railways is also exploring the possibility of developing water sports and use the riverfront plot for commercial ferrying activities, besides building office space along the waterfront.

“The riverfront location is presently full of dilapidated buildings. We plan to create a multitude of modern tourism possibilities. The 15m wide strip can be utilised for developing water sports,” said Ved Parkash Dudeja, Vice Chairman, Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA). “Also, the riverfront can be used for commercial ferrying activities. The development will not only put the land to better use but also boost tourism, create jobs and enhance prospects of investment in the region.”
RLDA is a statutory body under the Ministry of Railways for the development of vacant Railway land for commercial use.

A Kolkata-based property broker said that the land parcel is located at a prime site and developers are keen to develop it commercially.