Monday, April 29, 2013

Annual Action Plan for NGRBA

Writing this in Delhi Airport. Had meeting with Secretary MoEF, GoI and World Bank. All states have to step up implementation speed. Changes in framework is being contemplated. Functioning of State Program Management Group in West Bengal was appreciated but will have to be expanded further. I pleaded for more autonomy to the SPMG for quicker project implementation. An annual action plan of Rs 177 cr was approved for West Bengal. A special mission for riverfront development  is likely to be deployed by the World Bank to help Hoogly River Development.
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Here is a cutting from today's Times of India:

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And here is a cutting from today's Anandabazar:

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Receiving Centre in Finance Centre

Today afternoon I inspected the Finance Centre Building, opposite Eco Park, in New Town. Counters are being set up for receiving complaints. Here is a pic:
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Lopamudra Mitra gave a great performance in Rabindra Tirtha today. Here is a pic:
Lopamudra singing Benimadhab, Tore Ritmajare, Momo Chitte
at Rabindra Tirtha on 28th Ap Sunday evening

Saturday, April 27, 2013

View from the sky

An areial shot was taken by a consultant when in a helicopter over New Town. Here is a link to the uploaded video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7kdLEaHGaY&feature=youtu.be
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I visited Smritiban today after a while and was impressed by the progress made. I remember that last year, while talking of parks, the Forest Department gave a proposal in Writers' Buildings that a Smritiban may be developed by them where in a park various dignitaries visiting Kolkata can plant a tree. Later, these trees could be have the names of the VIPs who planted these. In fact I'd seen such a plantation in a Coal India mine in Jharkhand years ago.

Here is a photo taken this afternoon:

Friday, April 26, 2013

World Bank, Luxembourg and Town Hall

A ten-member delegation from the World Bank met me today to take stock of the progress of projects under the National Ganga Programme. The team was led by Dr Genevieve Connors who is now the Team Leader now for this project. Others in the team included Srinivasa Rao, Mehul Jain, A S Harinath  and others. Kripan Roy of Govt of India was also a part of this delegation.
We reviewed the progress of the schemes. I told about the difficulties encountered by the States and argued for a positive and dynamic framework.
I will attend a meeting at Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt of India, at Delhi on Monday.
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Mr Gaston Stronk, Ambassador of Luxembourg in India, was in Kolkata today. Mr and Mrs Stronk visited Rabindra Tirtha today morning. I accompanied them and explained the concept. They seemed to quite like the two exhibition halls displaying Tagore's works and portraits. In course of conversation, I recalled my visit to Luxembourg in 2003.
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Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee held a long meeting at Town Hall today with all Ministers, Secretaries and DMs. To a question I replied that construction of Banglar Hat was going on in full swing and that preparations for receiving complaints at New Town was being made.
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Here is a picture clipping from today's Anandabazar about water zorbing in Eco Park :
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Last Poila Baisakh, we had the citizens' meet at Rabindra Tirtha. It was good to see the report in Telegraph today that the hard work that we are doing is being recognised at least by some. A clipping:
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And finally a clipping about the flagging off of a Ladies Bus on the same day (Poila Baisakh):

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Nor' Wester in Eco Park

This morning, I drove myself to Eco Park in my Nano to see the damages caused by yesterday evening's squall. I found a few damages and have advised the technical team to visit the spot and repair damages on an urgent basis. Here is a picture on my camera of an uprooted electric post:
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Here is a clipping from today's Ei Samay. It is true that I'll hold a meeting this afternoon, but there is yet no reason to believe that investors are wary of the project. After all, the RFP is yet to be invited.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Monday, April 15, 2013

JustDial 08888888888 for Eco Park Kolkata

Eco Park New Town is now listed in 
Thus, if you want to know about the timings, for example, of Eco Park while you are in a car, just dial 08888888888 (ie 0 + ten 8s) and you'll get an sms after you ask what you want to know.
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We had the second citizen meet today evening. Rabindra Tirtha was quite full. The interaction was held in a very orderly manner, due partly to the four hour interaction I had with the local groups. A booklet containing the issues highlighted by various was handed over to MLA Sabyasachi Dutta. After the meet, a cultural function was staged by local residents. A photo:
Rabindra Tirtha was quite full on this day

Before that, District Magistrate Sanjay Bansal flagged off a Ladies' Special Bus. Here is a photo of the bus which will have lady conductors :
Ladies' Special Bus will operate on weekdays:
From Ultadanga at 9 am & 9.30am
From Unitech at 5pm & 5.30pm
In the citizen meet,  the matter of river water for New Town was raised. Here is a press clipping from today's Ei Samay which was acknowledged by a speaker on dais:

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Hajra Kali's Charak Mela in New Town

I was surprised to know recently that an ancient temple with traditional pujas and melas existed in New Town Kolkata itself. In the backdrop of gleaming multi-storied buildings, this Charak Mela offers a unique glimpse into rural Bengal. I was reminded strongly of my days in the district where Joydeb / Patharchapri/ Pous Melas were held on different occasions.

The Hajra Kali Seva Samiti organises the Charak Mela every year. It peaks on 2nd Boisakh - 16th April this year - and I saw the beginning of a large gathering even yesterday. Women and men were seen taking water from a nearby pond in earthen vessels on bamboo poles to the temple. There was a rural mela with all its full flavour - wooden furniture, artificial ornaments, vertical wheel, phuchkas etc - and I was told by the organisers that goats would be sacrificed in the evening and this would draw huge crowds as well.
I think the authenticity of this mela should be preserved with careful improvements at the margins.
Here is a photo collage:
The pond (left inset) shows the contrast of New Town and the Mela

Saturday, April 13, 2013

"DIWALI Water"

Last Wednesday, Dr H Kuypers of Netherlands met me. He is the Senior Advisor on International Innovation. He explained that "Diwali" was an acronym for "Dutch Indian Water Alliance for Leadership Initiative" and that this was a joint water technology initiative beteen Holland and India.

It seems that the Diwali initiative has nine components and these include New Urban Sanitation, Recycling Greenhouse Concept, Water Farming, Concentrated Solar Power & Purification etc..

The New Urban Sanitation talks of recovering energy and minerals from waste-water  using superior technology.

The Recycling Greenhouse concept is within the context of a "zero waste" society by producing drinking water, energy and fertilisers from waste. As I understood it, it basically irrigates plants in a greenhouse using waste-water and captures the 75% transpiration water vapour as pure water.

I was quite interested in these two concepts.
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Tomorrow evening, Dr Uday Narayan Singh will deliver a lecture on Rabindranath's Letters. Dr Singh is associated with Viswabharati. I'd recently read about his lectures in Shantiniketan for the freshers of Viswabharati...Yesterday was the last day of Sangeet Mela in Rabindra Tirtha. The week-long music festival in Eco Park and Rabindra Tirtha was a great success. Here is a photo of yesterday's mela at Rabindra Tirtha, taken on my mobile:

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Delhi Planning Commission Meet

In the Planning Commission meet, an Annual Plan size of Rs. 30,314 cr was agreed. In the presentation made by the state, the following were mentioned, inter alia, insofar as Urban Development is concerened:
- Sagar-Bakkhali Development Authority is being created
- Giant Wheel will be constructed in Kolkata
- Eco Park is being developed
- In JnNRUM-II, State contribution of 10% only should be the norm
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From Delhi Airport

Monday, April 8, 2013

Hoogly Water

Times of India dated 8th April 2012

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Film Appreciation on weekend 19-20-21 April

Yesterday, I was holding a meeting with representatives of various housing enclaves of New Town. This was basically in the context of celebrating Poila Baisakh and organising a Citizen Meet in New town. In course of the discussions, the matter of having cultural coaching in Rabindra Tirtha was raised as, according to the lady making the point, getting individual dance / music teachers was getting increasingly tough / costly. I mentioned that we can try, now that we have a permanent Curator for Rabindra Tirtha. Indeed, I mentioned that in the Poila Boisakh week's Friday itself, a 3-day Film Appreciation course would be organised at Rabindra Tirtha in association with the Satyajit Roy Film and Television Institute. Both classical and contemporary films would be screened and discussed by eminent professors, with discourses on the language, aesthetics and form of cinema. Last date of application will be 14th April, Details are available in websites of HIDCO and SRFTI

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Chief Minister Visits new Children's Eco Park

Yesterday evening, on her return from Bangalore, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee visited the newly opened Children's Eco Park. She inspected ongoing work at the eco park, saw preparations for Sunday's Sangeet Mela at Eco Park and inquired about the progress of new projects of eco park  like musical fountain, island resort development etc. She had a cup of tea at NKDA office while disposing of some official work. Here is a clipping from today's Khabar 365:
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We are thinking of listing Eco Park in Just Dial so that people on the move can enquire about it on the mobile phone. I visited Just Dial's office at Salt Lake Sector 5 today morning. Here is a photo:

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Sangeet Mela in Rabindra Tirtha and Prakriti Tirtha

Sangeet Mela 2013 will be observed on 6-13 April by the Govt of West Bengal at various venues in Kolkata. The inaugural ceremony will be held on 6th April at Netaji Indoor Stadium. During 7-12 April, festival will spread out to many venues: Rabindra Tirtha and Prakriti Tirtha (Eco-Park) will also be the venues.
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The new VIP lift in Nagarayan was made operational today. I was asked to cut a ribbon. A picture:

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Here is a clipping from Ekdin dt 28 March that I came across today: