Saturday, January 31, 2015

Kolkata International Arbitration Centre

We have decided to set up a Kolkata International Arbitration Centre. We put up a flex announcing this as a soft launch in our Kolkata Book Fair Stall no.111. A photo taken a while ago today:

Left: Hidco Stall
Here is a photo of a display at the Aajkal stall of Kolkata Book Fair that I chanced upon today:

Bit of Wax Museum in
Book Fair
Here is a cutting from yesterday's Anandabazar:

Anandabazar dt 30 Jan 2015

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Rabindra Bharati University to open campus in New Town

The Rabindra Bharati University will open up new courses in is new campus in an 8 acre plot (32,000 sq m approx) in Action Area II of New Town. In response to Hidco's offer letter dated 21.1.2015, the Vice Chancellor Shri Sabyasachi Ray Chaudhury it his letter number VC/3021 dt 29 Jan 2015 communicated that the University will open up in its New town campus new courses of studies catering to the needs of the society.

I also had a telephonic discussion with Ms Anuradha Lohia, VC of Presidency University and, in the afternoon, had a meeting with its Registrar and learnt of the steps being taken by the Presidency University in developing its campus in New Town.

* * *
Here are few clippings:

(Top & bottom) Ei Samay dt 29 Jan 2015

Khabar 365 dt 29 Jan 2015

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Sector Committee Meeting on UD & Infrastructure

Yesterday evening, a meeting of the sector committee on Urban Development and Infrastructure was held at Hidco Conference room. Hon'ble Minister (UD & MA) Shri Firhad Hakim presided. Shri Alapan Bandyopadhyay, Shri B P Gopalika, Shri Harsh Patodia, Shri S Mohta and Shri Sumit Dabriwala attended the meeting. A review of the township projects was held and it was decided that example from other states on private township would be collected by Credai for consideration.
* * *
A clipping that appeared today:

Khabar 365 dt 28 Jan 2015

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Book Fair Stall Inaugurated

This afternoon, Hon'ble Minister Firhad Hakim inaugurated Hidco's stall no. 111 at Kolkata Book Fair. A photo, taken soon after the cutting of the ribbon:

Krishna Chakraborty, Mayor Sovan Chatterjee, Minister Firhad
Hakim, me, and others
Photo courtesy Kaushik De 
Before the inauguration,we took a group photo in front of the stall:

Kaushik De, Debjani Datta, Sanjit Sharma, Suman Neogy,
me, Sutanu Kar, Prasanta Maji: Team Hidco
A clipping showing the girl-with-laptop-in-bench that has been brought in from EcoPark to the Hidco stall:
Aajkal dt 26 Jan 2015
 * * *
Here are few other clippings:
ToI dt 26 Jan 2015
Khabar 365 dt 26 Jan 2015

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sewerage Integration Work project worth Rs.272 cr approved for Barrackpore

Recently, the National Mission for Clean Ganga approved vide its sanction no.J-22014/I dated 30. 12. 2014 a World Bank Assisted project for Barrckpore for Sewerage  Treatment Plant (STP) and Sewerage Integration Work at an estimated cost of Rs. 272.32 crores. This includes 247 km of sewer network pipes of various widths, ten sewage pumping stations, two STPs (capacities 18 mld and 6 mld) and costs on account of five years' Operation & Maintenance costs. The project will be executed in the Design-Build-Operate mode.
The approval also talks of recycling and using 20% of the outfall water initially.Later, 50% should be reused after recycling.There will be Third Party Inspections (TPI) to ensure quality. The project is to be executed within three years.
* * *
Here are two clippings from today's papers:

Hindustan Times dt 25 Jan 2015

Bartaman dt 25 Jan 2015
Times of India (p1) dt 25 Jan 2015

Saturday, January 24, 2015

E-Ticketing for Eco Park and Wax Museum

We have started trial run of internet booking of tickets for Eco Park and Mother's Wax Museum. Here is the link: e-Tickets . We may launch it formally at Kolkata Book Fair on 27th Jan from Hidco stall no. 111.
* * *
Here is a clipping from today's paper:
Khabar 365

Thursday, January 22, 2015

"Making New Town a Smart (Star) City"

Today we had a day-long conference with experts from diverse fields on Making New Town a Smart City. (The smart city is referred to as a Star City in State Government records). This was held at the Eco Island's Glass House. More than 100 delegates attended with participation from IBM, CISCO, HP, Siemens, ILFS, TCS, Essel Infra, L&T and many others. There were national and international experts. The inaugural session was attended by Mr Satish Tewari, Additional Chief Secretary (IT), Mr Santosh Nimbalkar, Dy Commissioner of Police, Mr Bhudeb Chakraborty of NISG (National Institute of Smart Governance, our consultants), Mr Gopal Ghosh, CEO NKDA and Mr Sutanu Kar, JMD Hidco. In my remarks, I said that we must be careful to avoid technology for technology's sake, and that to me smart city meant using technology -and not necessarily IT only- to improve quality of life in the city. There wee there technical sessions too.

After the session, several delegates took a round of the Eco Park. A sunset photo:

 * * *
In between sessions, I opened a new Pay-and-Use toilet near Children's Park/ Tea Garden site of Eco Park. This is built by NKDA. A photo:

 * * *
Here is a clipping from today's paper:

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Yesterday, we inspected progress of cricket ground in New Town. It is located between City Centre2 and Eco Park. I was assured that remaining works will be completed by February. We hope to have an inaugural cricket match then, if it is not too hot.
(Top & Bottom) Cricket Ground in AA-2


Khabar 365 dt 21 Jan 2015

Ekdin dt 20 Jan 2015

Monday, January 19, 2015

Consultants for Gangasagar

In the morning today, we held a meeting with the just-selected consultants M/s Creative Circle (see blog post dated Jan 11, 2015). They gave a presentation on their understanding of the matter. We, including CEO KMDA (Surinder Gupta), EO GBDA (Argha Ghosh), PD SPMG (Indrani Saha), DG KMDA (Arun Chakraborty), CE KMDA and others were there. I mentioned that the Consultants should take inputs from ICZM, Special Task Force, PHED, ZP, SDB, KoPT and GSBDA and that the framework should abide by the NMCG and MoUD guidelines. They are supposed to complete their assignment by 3 months.

Here is a picture showed by the consultants during the presentation:
Concept drawing of a Boat Shop for Gangasagar

* * *
Here are two clippings from today's papers:

Khabar 365 dt 19 Jan 2015

Bartaman dt 19 Jan 2015
ToI dt 19 Jan 2015

And here is another older clipping :

Pratidin dt 16 Jan 2015

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Meeting on New Townships

In the Bengal Global Business Summit 2015, a large number of township projects were announced. I took a follow-up meeting yesterday with CEO KMDA (Surendra Gupta), DM North 24 Paraganas (Manmeet Nanda), DM Howrah (Subhanjan Das), JMD Hidco (Sutanu Kar), Joint Secretary UD (Sumita Bagchi), Chief Planner Hidco (Prasanta Bhattacharya), Chief Archtect NKDA (Sukrit Chatterjee), District Planning Officer South 24 Paraganas, Director Planning KMDA, ATP UD, AP NKDA and few others.

We discussed the procedure to be adopted, the timelines and the theory of the New Township Policy (>50 acres, 25% EWS, 25% Economic Zone and single window). I impressed on the need to undertake a joint preliminary inspection and to help the applicants to fill up all forms and complete documentation in a pro-active manner. I set a target of Tuesday next for submission to UD the reports by Development Authority / DM in respect of the applications received till yesterday.

I also explained that even public sector land  can be auctioned for new townships within the framework of the new township policy. Land tracts at Bolpur and Kalyani had already been identified. Today, I undertook a visit to Asansol to inspect a land belonging to ADDA where another township could be conceived. Sumit Gupta CEO ADDA was with me during the inspection. A photo taken today:
Township site at Asansol (Mouza Ganrui)
* * *
A clipping from today's paper:
Khabar 365 dt 17 Jan 2015

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

HIDCO inKolkata Book Fair

The Kolkata Book Fair will begin in the last week of January, as usual. This time, for the first time, Hidco will participate  and put up a stall. We held a meeting recently to decide the theme and motif for the Hidco stall.
Here is a clipping from today's Hindustan Times:

HT dt 14 Jan 2015

Monday, January 12, 2015

Designer Market at DD

Abin Chowdhury, the architect who designed Nazrul Tirtha, has also designed a market for us at DD block. It is nearing completion. I visited it in the morning, at DD Block of Action Area 1 of New Town. A photo:

Sunday, January 11, 2015


Under NMCG (National Mission Clean Ganga), we have undertaken project preparation for development of Gangasagar. Bids have been invited for selection of Consultants. Since Gangasagar Development Authority does not have the resources, KMDA is handling the matter on their behalf. Bidders have been shortlisted and I hope that the selection will be completed by next week, before the Makar Sankranti day (14 Jan).

The scope of work for the consultants for preparing the project report is as follows:
1. Beachfront management and public amenities
2. Waste water management
3. Cremation utility
4.Solid Waste Management
* * *
Here is a clipping from today's paper:
Times of India dt 11 Jan 2014

Saturday, January 10, 2015

First purchase from NKDA Market

I held a meeting at NKDA's IA market with allottees of shops. The object was to understand why they had not yet started their shops and if there was anything that I could do to help.
Some questions were:
- How do I get a trade licence?
- How do I get my own electricity meter?
- Can I put up my own shelf, cupboard, split AC or Chimney?
- My door lock needs a minor repair: whom do I contact?
- Who will provide security to my goods?
- Can NKDA help in telling people that we have started?
- How can be compete with street hawkers ?

I clarified most queries and decided to have an on-site camp office manned by engineers / officers of NKDA, NTESC etc from Tuesday to Friday at the Market building itself. We set ourselves an outside target of 1 April 2015 before which all shops including a polyclinic by doctors may start.

Meanwhile some shops have started functioning. From stall S-46, I got for myself 8 passport sized photos for Rs 50: ( I was introduced to the owner of the shop works at TCS and stays in New Town)

A photo:
Meeting today at 1A market NKDA

A clipping from today's paper:
Khabar 365 dt 10 Jan 2015

Friday, January 9, 2015

Financial Hub: 5 more banks

Yesterday, at the Bengal Global Business Summit, we handed over allotment letters for plots at New Town Financial Hub to the following banks:

1. SBI
2. Bandhan Bank
3. Andhra Bank
4. Syndicate Bank
5. Canara Bank

Canara Bank has taken three plots. In addition, DRI, GoI have also been allotted a plot. Their letter is being sent by post.

A photo taken yesterday:
Allotment letter of plot in Financial Hub being handed over to
Mr Chandra Shekhar Ghosh, Chairman Bandhan Bank 
 At the Breakaway session yesterday, we decided to recommend the increase in scope of New Town Financial Hub to be New Town Arbitration and Financial Hub.
Today, we held a meeting with HSA Advocates Partner Anjan Dasgupta (whom I met yesterday at BGBS)  and his colleague Sanjukta Gupta to chalk out a plan of action.
* * *
Here are a few clippings from today's papers:
Pratidin dt 9 Jan 2015
Times of India dt 9 Jan 15

Times of India dt 9 Jan 2015
Ei Samay dt 9 Jan 2015
Bartaman dt 9 Jan 2015

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Eco Island is Wi Fi enabled

One step ahead for a smart city: the Wi Fi project to Biswa Bangla Sarani took a step forward yesterday by launching Wi Fi over the entire eco island which has an area of 7 acres. There are 4 masts which are fed by an OFC (Optical Fibre Cable) embedded underground that gets connectivity from the network on main road. Work is going on for other areas and we hope it will be completed within a few months.
* * *
The curtain raiser of Bengal Global Business Meet will be held on 6 Jan at Eco Island. Hon'ble Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee visited Eco Park yesterday and supervised preparations. The EcoPark will b closed at 4pm on Tuesday 6 Jan to facilitate the investor event.
* * *
Here are two clippings from today's papers:

Khabar 365 dt 3 Jan 2015
Anandabazar dt 3 Jan 2015

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New 2015

On the first day of the new year, may I wish all readers of Urban Journal a very happy new year.
* * *
I was thinking of few milestones achieved in the year that passed by. Here are few highlights:

1.             New Township Policy – After formation of Sector Committee, Cabinet has approved the New Township Policy. This policy will ensure large amounts of investments in creation of Private Townships in a planned manner. It will provide houses for the Economically Weaker Section of the society. It will create jobs in the earmarked areas of the towns. Already few  applications have been received.
2.            Freeing land use restrictions in Sector-V Salt Lake - Large amount of vacant built-up spaces could not be used due to changing economic circumstances. In August, 2014 change of use was permitted on payment of fees through issue of a notification. This has enabled quick utilization of vacant spaces resulting in new economic activities.
3.            Planned Urbanization – LUDCP is being made and updated in various development authorities including New Town Kolkata, Haldia, Sriniketan-Santiniketan, Gangasagar, Bakkhali etc. This will result in sustainable urbanization and land utilisation.
4.            E-Governance – Bio-metric attendance system has been started in Urban Development Department and few development authorities. . This has resulted in improved attendance and increased work output. Video conferencing system, file tracking system and GRIPS enabled facilitation desk have improved service delivery. 17 services of Urban Development Department have been brought under the purview of Right to Public Services Act, 2013.
5.            New Town Financial Hub – With road shows and campaigns, several financial institutions have participated in the New Town Financial Hub.
6.            Projects – Numerous projects of various sectors have been implemented in 2014. Some are (a) Parama Park Circus Flyover (ongoing), (b) BRTS (ongoing), (c) Kamalgazi Flyover (ongoing), (d) 100 MGD Water Supply to New Town/Salt Lake (ongoing), (e) Uluberia Water Supply Project (completed), (f) Nazrul Tirtha (Completed), (g) Mothers Wax Museum (Completed), (h) Digha Welcome Gate (Completed) (i) Pedestrain Subway New Town (completed) (j) Wi Fi Sarani (ongoing), CCTV installed in UD/ Hidco Bhavan / Eco Park (k) Graphic Public Convenience, Salt Lake (completed) (l) Children's Park (3 in New Town), Heliconia Garden (Eco Park), Markets (3 in New Town) - (all completed) (m) Annexe building of UD Bungalow in Salt Lake (completed) (n) Four residential blocks in Baisakhi Abasan Salt Lake (completed) (o) Upgradation of Karunamoyee Bus Stand and Central Mela Ground in Salt Lake (ongoing) (p) Convention Centre in New Town (ongoing) (q) NKDA Administrative Building in New Town (ongoing) (r) State Govt Office Complex in Salt Lake (ongoing) and many more.
* * *
Here are a few clippings:

Khabar 365 dt 1 Jan 2015

Ei Samay dt 29 Dec 2014

Hindustan Times dt 29 Dec 2014