Tuesday, July 30, 2013

No Foreign Server

Mr Gulshan Rai, Director General of Department of Electronics, Govt of India wrote to me recently to inform that a defacer group called "hasnain haxor" had defaced the NGRBA website. He wanted a few further data and has advised that the website was hosted in USA but GoI standing instructions require that govt websites should be located in India.
I'd asked our technical team to look into the matter. The defacement has been removed, necessary web server logs are being sent to GoI for analysis and asked the web developer to shift in the web server.
Today at Hidco review meeting, we decided on the following few actions:
1. All other websites should be checked to see that the server locations were in India or not.
2. Hidco employees/ officers should switch-over to yourname@wbhidco.in from any other form of email for official use
3. Beyond 17.9.2013 (Viswakarma Day), no one will use hotmail, gmail, yahoo-mail etc for official work. Only @wbhidco.in would be allowed after the deadline.
4. NKDA would also form an email system.
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Here is a clipping that appeared in Ei Samay few days ago:-

Friday, July 26, 2013

Battery Car

Yesterday evening, a 6-seater battery car was delivered in Eco Park. I trial drove it with Chief Engineer S P Chatterjee and others. Even while testing it, several visitors enquired if they could get a ride to reach back to their car park and what was the fare. You see, one needs to walk for an hour or two to travel once from one end of Eco Park to the other. Here is a photo - poor quality due to my mobile's flash not being effective:
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Here is a cutting from today's Telegraph (Salt Lake):

Thursday, July 25, 2013

HMT in New Town Kolkata

When the Regional Manager of HMT met me at Hidco last Tuesday, I was reminded of my early school days in North Bengal when my father had purchased an HMT wrist watch - an accurate people's watch (there was even a Janata model) that looked great in those pre-liberalisation days. If I remember correctly, one had to patiently wait one's long turn before getting one's wrist on a specimen!
These days, one hardly hears of the Public Sector Undertaking and the mechanically wound watches - although Automatic mechanical watches are slowly replacing cheap quartz watches in the high end segment. I was naturally curious to meet the Regional Manager on Tuesday morning.
It seems HMT is now trying to create a niche market in the segment of Tower Clocks (a la Big Ben). Specifically, he suggested a Floral Clock for the Eco Park - a clock embedded on ground where the numbers are made of garden flowers/hedges, 7 m or so wide. I advised him to send a formal proposal for technical appraisal by engineers.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Working in the Rain

I'd been to inspect progress of work of Entry Plaza and Visitors' Centre in Eco Park today morning. It was however raining very heavily and we could not go to the field location. However, close by, I visited the fabrication shed with a makeshift plastic roof to keep the rain away and saw how welding and steel tube shaping works were going on even while the torrential shower poured away. A picture of the shed from my camera:
Yesterday, we had a meeting at the Fisheries Department where Subes Das ACS(Fishery Deptt), me, Arup Saha CEO KMDA and Debashis Pal Planner KMDA reviewed the master plan for a touristic transformation of the 2-3 km stretch along the water body. Here is a report from today's Times of India on it:
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Here is a cutting from today's Anandabazar that took me to my Chief Electoral Officer days. It was great to know that the people of Charjatrasiddhi still remembers. Thanks also to Rahul Roy / Anandabazar for bringing it out:

Friday, July 19, 2013

Rabindra Film Course in Rabindra Tirtha

Last Wednesday, we started a 5-day course on films based on Rabindranath. Started on 17th July, it will continue till Sunda the 21st July with Rituparno's Chokher Bali and its interpretation. The course is organised in co-ordination with Roopkala Kendra. A photo from my camera during the inauguration:
 * * *
I went to Durgapur yesterday to inspect JnNURM projects now being executed in Durgapur. This was preceded by a regular meeting with all officers and technical personnel of ADDA.

I also had a meeting with CEO, Durgapur Steel Plant where DM Burdwan and CEO ADDA were also present. We talked of many matters of mutual interest. Minutes are being drawn up. We were informed that the board of SAILhad decided in principle to set up a second steel plant at Durgapur. Matters relating to recording of land acquired by DSP in the ROR were also solved after CEO agreed to pay the required fees. I requested CEO DSP to do some creative landscaping along NH2 including an artistic gate befitting the steel town. He agreed to the suggestion.

I went to see the airport town of Aerotropolis. ADDA had posed certain issues for the residential sector of the project. A photo of the under-construction airport building:
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Here is a cutting from an article in Anandabazar that appeared on Tuesday:

Monday, July 15, 2013

Capacity Building of Technical Wings of Hidco & NKDA

There has been for some time a persistent feeling that technical officers of the State Govt who execute various projects such as flyovers, bridges, roads, buildings, water supply etc may be given practical training to upgrade thier skills. Last Friday, a 2-day workshop was organised for all technical personnel of Hidco & NKDA up to the rank of Executive Engineer. The training was iparted by the Road and Building Research Institute of PWD. The training workshop was hugely successful and I have received a very good feedback from the participants. A photo:
 * * *
Here is a cutting from today's Ei Samay (page 1):

Here is a cutting from today's Times of India:

Sunday, July 14, 2013

CM Visits Eco Park

Hon'ble Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister visited Eco Park yesterday afternoon on her way back from Sashan in North 24-Paraganas. With her were Ministers Firhad Hakim and Arup Biswas, Singer Indranil Sen, MLA and others. Since there was daylight, we took her to the site of Food Park and Butterfly Garden through the newly laid internal pathway. I showed her how work on Banglar Haat was progressing with the lights still on. I also briefed her about the DPR on Deer Park being made. A snapshot on the wooden jetty, facing the lake in Eco Park:
Viewing sunset view lakefront in Eco Park
I told her that only the same morning, we had a bhoomi puja and started work of Musical Fountain. A group photo taken on Saturday morning:
Team Eco Park
Present: Sutanu, D Banerji, N.Sil, A.Sanyal, PP Datta, A Ganguli,
SP Chatterji, Suman Neogi, me, P Bhattacharya, P Guha and Agency 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Video Conference with Development Authorities

I held a video conference with the Development Authorities of UD Department from Writers' Buildings yesterday. Participating were KMDA, KIT, HIT, ADDA, HDA, SJDA, MKDA, NKDA, BDA, JDA and SSDA. The basic objectives were (1) Review of progress of State Plan Schemes (2) Initiating Road / Bridge / Flyover projects under JnNURM even beyond Kolkata/Asansol under UIDSSMT. Before that, I discussed the procedures with Mr B.P.Gopalika, Secretary Municipal Affairs, in the context of the discussions held last Wednesday at the National Conference at Delhi.
* * *
We had a very detailed brainstorming session yesterday afternoon with Transport Department, CSTC, WBSTC, CTC, TIDC, KMDA and Hidco at Hidco Bhavan Conference room about setting up an inter city, inter state and inter national bus terminus at New Town. A sub committee has been formed who will also visit Chennai and Bangalore projects and give specifications. Here is a group photo taken at site after the meeting yesterday:
At Site of Bus Terminus
Present: A. Bandyopadhyay, me, A.Thakhur, A Ganguly, D.Pal etc

Here is a cutting from today's Anandabazar:

* * *
Here is a clipping from today's Times of India:

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Intelligent Transport System

At Delhi, I attended today a workshop on ITS (Intelligent Transport System) organised by Ministry of Urban Development. We were told of the very many experiments going on in USA, UK, Japan and South Korea. Here is a link of a video from the Korean experiment that we were shown: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQ7AbusMATE . I suggested, however, that external examples must be tuned to Indian reality and that simple solutions like periodic announcements in FM radio about traffic conditions may also be taken into account. I also talked about introducing ITS in New Town Kolkata as a pilot scheme. The organisers agreed to come to Kolkata for detailed discussions soon.
* * *
In the afternoon, I attended a meeting at the French Embassy on promoting Indo-French collaboration at the State / ULB level. I alluded to the close parallel between La Defence near Paris and New Town near Kolkata and remarked that in terms of urban planning there could be a lot to share. Mr Mani Shankar Aiyer was also there and talked about the fundamental difference in democracies of India and Europe (In Europe it evolved over centuries and in India it was 'devolved' from the top suddenly, he said). His speech was quite impressive and I complemented him by saying that one wished if it could be recorded !

While at the French Embassy, I recalled my last visit to the same building in 2003 when I had to appear for an interview (which was held after a written test that I had to clear) for being considered for a training at ENA (Ecole Nationale d'Administration) in France. I'd got a diploma in Public Administration (Public Finance) in 2004 after a stint in ENA Paris and Project work in Strassbourg. All course was in French and I didn't know a word of French before landing in France! I shared this with the Embassy diplomats today, who are, it seems, compiling a directory of ex-ENAs from India, of which there was another in today's meeting who'd done it a decade earlier (Ms Sneh Lata Kumar, IAS, Resident Commissioner MP)

Bon jour !
Returning Kolkata this evening.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

West Bengal gets "A" in JnNURM Reforms

Attended conference of Principal Secretaries of Urban Development at India Habitat Centre, Delhi today. The meeting was presided over by Shri Sudhir Krishna, Secretary, Govt of India, Ministry of Urban Development. Later, Secretary GoI Food Processing Department joined the discussions and spoke about the need of modernising abottairs with 50% GoI grants.
 The projects sanctioned in JnNURM-I are to be completed by March 2014. On behalf of the states I submitted that after a great deal of effort including assembling land, removing utilities, getting clearances from Railways / Port/ Defence, battling court cases and dealing with agency failures, the projects are now rolling. I pleaded that instead of stopping GoI help and fund flow at this stage, a more sympathetic view may be taken and time may be extended by a year.

In the field of reforms, West Bengal stood at more than 80% achievement and got "A" along with most other states. Only very few states got A+. All states were given time till 31st July to further improve upon their achievements. Incidentally, 10% of Central Grants are now held back (Rs 120 crores for West Bengal) due to non-achievement of all reforms.

I came to know that 5 UIDSSMT projects and 2 UIG projects were sanctioned as new "extended period" JnNURM projects.

At the suggestion of Secretary Sudhir Krishna, I met Mr S.K Lohia, OSD MoUD after the conference to discuss about the posible implementation of a Public Bicycle Scheme in New Town Kolkata
* * *
(Later; 11th July)
Here is a clipping from today's Bartaman (from web):

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Adda Zone Planned at Eco Park

Today I went to Eco Park and then to a village called Swetpur. Swetpur is near Barasat and is on the road to Bongaon. It took us about an hour to reach there. Arijit Sanyal, GM Hidco accompanied me. A member of a SHG (Self Help Group) based in Barasat-I Panchayat Samiity metus near Brasat and guided us. The last 500 metres were on foot.

We went to a potter's house. They make terracota pots, 'mora', and other interesting items. We chose few items that will be required to make an informal get-together (adda) zone near Artists' Cottage in Prakriti Tirtha. The idea is to have a waterside cafe with a set of ethnic tables/ stools. Here is the photo of potter's hut where we went :

Friday, July 5, 2013

Designer Bus Terminal in New Town

Today I had an initial discussion with Mr Alapan Bandyopadhyay, Principal Secretary, Transport Department about ways in which a state-of-the-art designer Bus Terminus in New town in jointly in collaboration between Hidco and Transport Department. The 10 acre land is located in Action Area-II, near Rajarhat Road, not far from DeRozio College. We had a fruitful discussion and agreed to take the project forward. A joint meeting will be held at Hidco next Friday followed by a site visit.
* * *
Here is a clipping from today's Telegraph (Salt Lake):

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Amar Bari in New Town

176 dwelling units for the Economically Weaker  Section being built under the Amar Bari scheme is nearing completion at Tarulia near Action Area IA of New Town. I reviewed the progress today and found that the work on power connection and water connection need to be expedited. I spoke to Executive Engineer PHE and MD, NTECSC on this today afternoon. Preparations for a possible lottery after inviting bids will also begin shortly.
* * *
Here is a clipping from today's Khabar 365 :
* * *
Here is a clipping from Ajker Kalam that was emailed to me:

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Ground Breaking for Najrul Tirtha

Last Saturday the Hidco Board of Directors approved engagement of Sapoorji Paloonjee as the lowest bidder for constructing Nazrul Tirtha.
This afternoon, a bhumi puja was arranged and we broke coconuts. A picture:

Here is a model that will soon be kept at the site:

* * *
Here is a clipping from today's Times of India:
And a cutting from today's Khabar 365:

Monday, July 1, 2013

Drainage Meet

I held an emergency drainage meeting with KMDA, KMC and KMWSAA. Some co-ordination was needed to ensure that the ongoing BRTS works along EMByPass did not affect the outflow of rainwater. Culverts were also to be desilted while pumps at several sites were to be kept in readiness. It was also to be seen that water pumped out did not flow back due of choking of drainage channels. All Chief Engineers were advised to take emergency measures and send photographs for record.
* * *
Last Thursday, a new drilling rig started its operations in Action Area I to augment water supply. We broke few coconut shells on the drill machine. A picture:
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Yesterday, Dohar performed at Rabindra Tirtha. They talked of the influence of folk songs like on Rabindrasangeet and sang to demonstrate. A photo:

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Here is a clipping from today's Times of India: