Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA; erstwhile CMDA) is constituted as a statutory body under the State Government under Section 3 of the President’s Act 17 of 16th July, 1970. Later that was sanctified under the CMDA Act of 1972 (The West Bengal Act XI of 4th May, 1972). In 1979, the CMDA Act, 1972 was repealed by the West Bengal Town and Country (Planning and Development) Act, 1979. Nevertheless, the Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority constituted under the CMDA Act meant the same as the WBT&C(P&D) Act. Subject to the provisions of the West Bengal Town and Country (Planning & Development) Act, 1979 and the rules made there under and any direction which the State Government may give, from time to time, the powers and functions of KMDA shall be in accordance with the section 13 of the WBT&C(P&D) Act, 1979.
KMDA performs its functions over Kolkata Metropolitan Planning Area or Kolkata Metropolitan Area (KMA). Kolkata Metropolitan Area (KMA) is the metropolitan outfit of the city of Kolkata, situated at the east bank of river Hooghly. However, the metro core consists of the twin cities on either side of river Hooghly, viz. Kolkata and Howrah. At present, KMA extends over six districts situated on either side of the River Hooghly namely Kolkata, Howrah, Hooghly, Nadia, North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas. The area comprises of 4 Municipal Corporation (MC), 37 Municipalities (M) and 23 Panchayat Samities (PS). The approximate geographic extents of the present KMA including the river Hooghly is about 1876sqkm. KMA held a population of around 15.87 million, according to 2011 Census, as against the total urban population of West Bengal of around 29 million. The population of KMA is projected at 21.1 million in 2025.
An important demographic attribute of KMA is that its average residential density is the highest among the metropolises in India at around 8500 persons per sqkm. As for the growth of population, the city of Kolkata has been witnessing sharp decline whereas the same has been growing at higher rates in the municipal towns immediately surrounding Kolkata City. The demographic primacy of KMA has been to some extent the result of a vibrant economy that the metropolis experienced over a sustained period of time in the history. KMA's contribution to Spatial Development Planning is estimated to be around 30%, although KMA accounts for only 18% of the State's population. KMA accounts for three-fourths of the organised sector industries and employment KMA houses the major financial, commercial, educational, health, research and other organisations that cater to the requirements of not only of KMA but also the entire State, the eastern region and the country. The per capita income in KMA is much higher than what it is in the rest of the State and this has created an opportunity for growth of various service sector industries including real estate development.
The State is now poised for rapid pace of industrialization and KMA has to play an important role in facilitating the process of industrial growth. It is not only to support the future population but also the emerging economic activities within KMA like the IT and ITeS industries, specialised financial services, necessary infrastructure and facilities shall have to be created through planned interventions such that the growth in population and economic activities could be sustained in a healthy and environment friendly manner.
Role of KMDA
KMDA, established in 1970 under Presidential Ordinance and later sanctified under the KMDA Act of 1972, functioned essentially as a development agency with the specific purpose of carrying out major infrastructure development in KMA. With the enactment of West Bengal Town and Country (Planning & Development Act in 1979, KMDA was designated as the statutory planning and development authority for KMA. Between 1970 and 1981 KMDA functioned as an overarching development authority in KMA, as most of the units of local self government in KMA were under suspension with no elected representation in place. It is only with the State Government's avowed policy of decentralised planning and development across the urban and rural areas of the State that elected representation was installed in all the urban local bodies of the State including those in KMA. KMDA has been working in tandem with the elected ULBs towards the overall development of KMA.
The process of decentralised planning and development had taken a further stride following the enactment of West Bengal Metropolitan Planning Committee (WBMPC) Act in 1994 in line with the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1992. Following the provisions of WBMPC Act of 1994, Kolkata Metropolitan Planning Committee (KMPC) had been established in KMA in August 2001. Of the 60-member KMPC, 40 are elected from amongst the local elected representatives. The WBMPC Act provides for preparation of a Draft Development Plan for KMA by KMPC having regard to the plans prepared by the individual units of local self-government. The Act further mandates that KMPC should co-ordinate all the development activities undertaken by the different agencies of the State and Central Governments within the geographical boundaries of KMA. To ensure conformity of developmental actions to the development plans, KMDA became the Technical Secretariat of KMPC.
KMDA has always been sensitive to the needs of carrying out urban development on ground. To accelerate the process of urban infrastructure development, KMDA has been the pioneer in enlisting private sector participation by invoking the paradigm of public-private partnership in development and management of urban development projects. Above all, with the evolution of functions of KMDA over more than 40 years, KMDA has become an epitome for urban planning and development in KMA.