Friday, June 28, 2013

Engineers on a Boat

The level of water in the lake in Eco-Park has risen considerably in the last week. We tried to analyse the possible reasons for this. It seemed that a storm water canal that brings run-off rain water from  VIP Road, Chinar Park and even Dum Dum has breached a thin earth barrier and connected itself to the lake. The storm water canal is intended to go farther down to Bagjola Canal.
We decided to inspect the site of the breach yesterday. All senior engineers of Hidco including P.P.Datta, Executive Director (Technical), Ananda Ganguly Chief Engineer, Suman Neogy General Manager (Engineering), Arijit Sanyal General Manager (Engineering), Pradip Guha Addl General Manager (Planning) and others accompanied me yesterday afternoon on a country boat to the site. The breach spot is not accessible by road: it is on the far side of the lake, on the other side of the new jetty near Rabi Aranya.
After inspection and discussions on the boat at site, we decided to make a sand bag barrier to isolate the lake and observe results. Permanent solution can be worked out only after analyzing results, and that too after the monsoons.
Here is a photo taken just before we started
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Here is a clipping from today's Pratidin:

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Plot for retail market / shopping-cum-commercial complex auctioned at AA-II

Yesterday was the last date of receiving bids for tender / auction for a plot of land of area 2.50 acres in Action Area II of New Town Kolkata. The plot has a frontage on the Major Arterial Road to Airport, and is   close to the second sharp bend near the sixth intersection, close to the Diplomatic Enclave. A prime plot, it fetched a highest bid of Rs. 57.33 crores. Converted this amounts to Rs 23 crore per acre, or Rs. 38 lakhs per kottah or Rs. 56,666 per sq metre or Rs. 5,264 per sq ft. This is perhaps the highest bid that Hidco received;, an earlier bid having fetched Rs 51 crore but which didn't materialise finally. We wait to see if this does.
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I took a session yesterday at the ATI (Administrative Training Centre) with the new batch of IAS officers who have just been allotted the state. I spoke on Urban Development in West Bengal.
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Here is a clipping from yesterday's Khabar 365:

Friday, June 21, 2013

Land friendly water treatment plants

Yesterday a seminar of eastern states of India was held. The topic was "Energy & Resource Efficient Urban Water Management". At the inaugural session, I remarked that we need Water Treatment Plants and Waste Water Treatment Plants that need less land. Conventional treatment plants need huge amount of land that is becoming scarce. Technologically advanced solutions like SBR (Sequential Batch Reactor), FBR (Fluidised Bed Reactor), Organic Media etc were explored by us. I also announced that we are thinking of a tertiary treatment of 10% of waste water to make it of reusable quality and to compensate this increased cost by fitting in bottled water plants in our new Water Treatment Plants. I also mentioned that we'd have solar panels and methane power plants wherever possible in WTPs / WWTPs.

I also spoke of having SCADA-like sensor device based IT systems that will help reduce water losses. CSE, the facilitators, mentioned that as per their estimate, the water losses in Kolkata was 39%. They also talked about the strategy in JnNURM-II where WTPs and WWTPs would be dealt with together as a combined project in all cases.
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I inspected yesterday the parks in AAI being maintained by NKDA. A new Children's Multi-Ride Equipment is being set up in Shishu Tirtha. I advised that few exhibits required a fresh coat of paint. I also went to see several ongoing projects of Action Area I. Here is a photo of the community market in BB Block of Action Area I that took yesterday afternoon:
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Today morning, Ms Keya Seth, MD of Keya Seth's Aromatherapy visited Eco-Park. Here is a photo taken during her brief visit to Hidco Bhavan before the tour to Eco Park:
L-R: Me, Keya Seth, Asish Seth at Hidco just before
their Eco Park visit
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Here is a clipping from Khabar 365:
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Here is a clipping from Bartaman:

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

CM Visits Eco Park

On her way back from Bongaon, Hon'ble Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister, visited Eco Park today evening for about an hour or so. She gave a lot of advice and directions. She posed for photos with visitors in the Eco Park. Photos captured on my camera:

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Machan in Rain Forest

In Gorumara Forest in the Duars, there is a wooden machan for viewing rhinos in the salt lick across a stream down below. Based on this idea, we decided today to make a viewing gallery in the midst of the rainforest zone within the Eco Park. A drawing was approved in the weekly meeting at Hidco.
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Here is a clipping from today's Times of India:-

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Drag Race in New Town

The second and final part of a Drag Race of cars took place today morning at Action Area III of New Town. The rules of the game are that two cars participate in each go for a 400m straight race. The loser gets eliminated. Here is a pic:
I requested the organisers to have an exciting car event in winter. Incidentally, we received an application recently from Mumbai requesting 17 acres space for a great musical band show in the first week of December: I am thinking of the grassland zone within Eco Park for this. Let's see.
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Prof Sukanta Chaudhury of Jadavpur University told us of Bichitra Web Project today evening at Rabindra Tirtha. In Rabindra Tirtha, we have the objective of having a leading web networking core of Rabindranath for the Bengali diaspora around the world. A modest beginning has already been made. The second phase process has been initiated. A photo:
Prof Sukanta Chaudhuri in Rabindra Tirtha talking on Bichitra

After the event, I discussed with Prof Chaudhuri about the possibility of linking up Rabindra Tirtha Web Effort (Time Line on Rabindranath) with Bichitra.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Foundation Stone of SBI Management Institute

Last year in May, SBI took up a plot of 10 acres at New Town Kolkata for their Apex Training Institute. I recall my posts in this blog (search for SBI in the box) and my post at . Today, the foundation stone was laid by Chairman SBI in presence of MD and CGM Bengal. A photo:

L-R on dais: Sunil Srivastava CGM Kolkata, me,
Pratip Chaudhuri Chairman SBI, A Krishna Kumar MD SBI
and B V Chaubal, DMD & CDO
There was a 3D model on display and it was assured that construction would start soon.
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The renovated Ahindra Mancha at Chetla was inaugurated today by Minister Firhad Hakim. I recalled in the inaugural ceremony this evening that even when he was in the opposition as an MLA, in one of the Standing Committee meetings at the Assembly, Mr Firhad Hakim had asked for quick repair of the then dilapidated Ahindra Mancha. After taking oath as Minister, he took initiative to renovate Ahindra Mancha quite beyond recogition. A photo:

Friday, June 14, 2013

Water Supply

Cities, experts say, cannot exist without water. In fact, most major cities of the world are on the banks of rivers or in coastal areas where surface water or ground water is available in plenty. I think of Fatepur Sikri where a whole capita city had to be abandonned since there was not water. Water supply sources are being created throuugh JnNURM.
Last Monday, I held a review of the projects on water supply. A large number of water treatment plants are being built, both in ADDA region and KMDA region. Insofar as KMDA area is concerned, 877 mld (million litres per day) of additional water treatment plant capacity is being added under UIG of JnNURM.. The 877 mld is in addition to the capacity of existing WTPs (2246 mld). This means an increase in 39% of the existing capacity. It is also fit to cater to the requirements of 6.5 million additional people, taking the per capita water requirement to be 135 lpcd. Already commissioned WTP are at Uluberia (46 mld), Kalyani (136 mld), Garulia  (19mld). Some of the WTPs where work is going on include Madhyamgram (140 mld), Dhapa (136 mld), Baranagar (136 mld), Bhatpara (104 mld), Bally (48 mld), Titagarh-Khardah ((70mld), Bansberia (68 mld) etc. The target is to complete all the WTPs by March 2014.
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Here is a clipping from today's Telegraph (Salt Lake):

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

e Auction

Two plots at New Town were put up for e-Auction today.
 One was a plot for an Automobile Showroom. This is a plot of area 39.79 kottahs (0.658 acres). It is located in Action Area II. It fetched a price of Rs. 9.55 crores.
  The other plot was for a bank branch plot in Action Area I. It is a plot of 6.3 kottahs (457 sq m). It fetched a price of Rs. 1.26 crores.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Herbal Garden

In 3 acres of Eco Park, a Herbal Garden will be set up in collaboration with Institute of Post Graduate Ayurvedic Education and Research, Kolkata. The Herbal Garden will create awareness on importance of medicinal plants for treatment and prevention of diseases. There will be about 200 square plots where the medicinal plants will be grown. I held a brief review on the progress made at today's weekly review meeting.
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Here is a clipping from today's Anandabazar:

Monday, June 3, 2013

Request for Information (RFI) for Space Saving STP

We wish to save land for treatment plants for waste water ie STP or Sewage Treatment Plants. How to go about it? Request for Information (RFI) was solicited through newspaper advertisement. We called for new ways of treating waste water that would be modern, cost-effective as well as land economising - all to be achieved through use of modern technology.

The last date was over recently and seven applications have been received. The idea is now to consult each of them and thereafter make a framework for calling tenders ie for creating RFQ / RFP documents.

This is a very transparent and innovative method of introducing new technology. We are trying it for the first time. I explained this briefly to the British Delegation when they came to Hidco Bhavan today afternoon. A photo:
Me, Minister Hakim & John Nutt are at the far end
Afterwards, the delegation visited Eco Park and were very enthusiastically appreciative about it.
 Here is a photo taken today morning at the Oberoi Grand:
Me, UK Minister Mr Eric Pickles,  Minister Hakim, Mr Wadhwani
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Here is a clipping from today's Times of India:

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Eastern Regional Workshop on Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation

Last Wednesday, Mr Arun Misra, Secretary Govt of India Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (MoHUPA) held a regional workshop in Kolkata where representatives of Assam, Orissa, Tripura, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh were present besides West Bengal.

A copy of the recommendations of the Task Force on Affordable Housing Projects was released. We were informed that the Govt of India had accepted the recommendations. Incidentally, I was one of the members of this Task Force. It makes practical ways in which the centre and the states can come together to combat the housing shortage for the EWS, LIG an MIG sectors.

In our submission, I stated that while we had completed 74,000 dwelling units under JnNURM - the highest in the region - we could do more if we were allowed to revise the project cost to prevailing market prices. Secretary replied that Finance Ministry was not agreeable to this as the projects were already sanctioned. I also requested for permission to change location of units due to land problems: specific proposals were sought for.

Here is a picture of the head table:
Me, Sushil Kumar Addl Secy, AKMisra, Secy, BKAgarwal JS, Advisor Plg Comm
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Yesterday, the work of Ganga Water project actually started on the ground. A photo on VIP Road near Lake Town Crossing:
Ground Breaks for Hugly Water Intake for New Town,
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Here is a clipping from the Telegraph that came to my notice recently although Ms Sucheta Chakraborty had met me a Hidco Bhavan a few days ago from the date of publication: