Kolkata, Feb 11 (IANS) From shoe shops to restaurants, orchards to iconic buildings, the office of Custodian of Enemy Property for India (CEPI) has 2,786 properties spread over 13 districts of the state, according to official sources.
Of these, 2,735 are immovable assets of those who left these behind and took citizenship of Pakistan after partition or after the 1965 and 1971 wars with India.
The remaining 51 constitutes immovable properties of those who took Chinese citizenship in the aftermath of the 1962 Sino-Indian War.
Across India, the number of immovable enemy properties range from 9,280-9,406 belonging to Pakistan nationals and 126 of Chinese nationals, that have been declared and are vested in the CEPI.
However, as per the CEPI records around 5,866 properties are still remaining to be verified and declared as enemy properties in the country.
Apart from the immovable assets, the CEPI also has enemy shares of 257 listed companies and 327 unlisted ones.
According to CEPI, it also possesses gold and jewellery items worth around Rs 38 lakh.
Late last month, the Centre constituted a Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah to monitor the disposal of enemy properties, which are likely to fetch the exchequer of about Rs 1 lakh crore.
Following that, the CEPI has begun working on a pilot project in Bengal to study the nature, including the legal issues connected to the properties, before identifying the first batch that could go under the hammer.
West Bengal has the second highest number of immovable enemy properties left by either Pakistani or Chinese nationals.
Uttar Pradesh (4,991) tops the list of Pakistani enemy properties, while Meghalaya (57) has the largest number of properties left behind by the Chinese.
Among the Bengal districts housing property of Pakistani nationals, Murshidabad (929) leads the pack, followed by Cooch Behar (542) and Bibhum (456).
According to government records, Haji Abdul Hamid, resident of Rajshahi district (now in Bangladesh) owns 207 of those properties, in Bhabta village of Murshidabad – the capital of Bengal, Bihar and Odisha during the rule of the Nawabs till the mid 18th century.
In Cooch Behar, 191 of the properties are registered in the name of Nazubar Rahaman at Hemkumari Mouza under Haldibari block, while 149 of them are owned by Ekramul Haque Prodhan in Paschim Fatemamud mouza’s Haldibari block.
In Birbhum district, 195 enemy properties are against the name of Hameera Khatoon in Khoyrasole block.
Kolkata houses 96 such properties, many of them situated in prime locations of the city like B.B.D Bag (erstwhile Dalhousie Square – the central business district).
A famous address is 1 and 1B British Indian Street – an iconic building that now houses a large number of small and big commercial and business establishments.
Other cream addresses in the CBD include Phears Lane, Ganesh Chandra Avenue, Netaji Subhas Road. Interestingly, the National Bank of Pakistan property on 14, Netaji Subhas Road also finds a place in the list.
Shakespeare Sarani, A.J.C Bose Road, R.N Mukherjee Road, B.B Ganguly Street, Bentick Street, Upper Circular Road, Prafulla Sarkar Street, Marquis Street are among other upscale neighbourhood in the heart of the city where these enemy properties stand.
A number of properties are commercial establishments and large estates with the names of Pakistani nationals featuring as owners..
In Malda, there are some orchards in the enemy properties list.
As for the properties of Chinese nationals, 25 are located in Darjeeling district (though after the division of the district, 15 of them fall in Kalimpong), 19 in Kolkata and seven in Jalpaiguri.
Of the Kolkata properties, 13 are tanneries mostly located in the Tangra area of the city’s famous China Town. There is also a stationery outlet, a dry cleaners and a carpenter’s shop, two other shops and another address.
The Darjeeling and Kalimpong assets are primarily restaurants, thukpa joints, shoe stores and dentist chambers.
Four of the properties in Jalpaiguri are tea estates, besides a stationery shop and Chinese dentist chamber.