Thursday, February 26, 2015

Tall Tree Transplantation Seminar

Yesterday we had a workshop on Tall Tree Transplantation where Forest Department officers presented various aspects of the phenomenon. Officers from Forest, KMDA, Hidco and NKDA participated. A picture:
Tall Tree Transplantation Seminar at Glass House, Eco Park
on 25 Feb 2015
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At the Assembly, the amendment bill of T&CP Act was passed yesterday. A new Chapter IIA has been added providing for an Eco Tourism Advisory Board.
* * *
The famous owls in Action Area 2 have been repainted: a photo taken this morning:

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Three clippings from today's papers:

Ei Samay dt 26 Feb 2015
Khabar 365 dt 26 Feb 2015
Khabar 365 dt 26 Feb 2015

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Commencement of Work of Upasana Griha

As decided in the last NKDA Board, an Upasana Griha was planned ( See blog post at Upasana ). Yesterday, I, along with Gopal Ghosh, CEO NKDA, Pradip Roy CE NKDA, EEs and others marked the commencement of work at site by breaking coconuts. A picture:

Work commences on Upasana Griha yesterday
Artist's impression of the Upasana Griha to be constructed at Immersion
Ghat of New Town. (Expected to be completed before Durga Puja)
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Two clippings from today's Times of India:

Times of India dt 25 Feb 2015 (Top and Below)

Monday, February 23, 2015

DD to cover Basantotsav at Rabindra Tirtha

I met Doordarshan Kolkata's Additional Director General Mr P K Subhash and told him of our Basantotsav to be held from 7 am on 5th March at Rabindra Tirtha. He agreed to have the event covered by Doordarshan but that it could not be done live. I requested if this could be done on a "delayed live" mode so that it could run in the morning itself after Shantiniketan coverage. H said he would try. Let's see.

Here is a graphic designed for this year's Basantotsav"

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

Times of India dt 23 Feb 2015

Khabar 365 dt 23 Feb 2015

Pratidin dt 23 Feb 2015

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Leasehold transfer within family made virtually free

Land has been given in the past by development authorities and other government agencies in towns such as Salt Lake, Kalyani, Asansol, Durgapur, Siliguri and elsewhere on leasehold basis. The lease period is usually 99 years but in some cases it extended to longer period. During this period, the lessee often wants to transfer his / her leasehold rights to his / her, spouse or children etc. As in all leased holdings, this requires prior permission of the authority who leased the land. In giving this permission, many a times development authorities used to charge significant fees. Now the state government has issued a circular recently that says that transfers within closed blood relatives will have to be allowed free of cost except for a minor processing fee of Rs 1,000. The notification can be seen at transfer_within_blood_relation . While explaining this notification to the development authorities in a video conference held by me last Thursday, I sensitized all concerned to make such transfer cases within the family as smooth and hassle-free as possible.
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Adhar Camp is being organised by district administration in co-operation with NKDA. I visited both sites yesterday. The camps will continue till end of this month. About 8,000 New Town residents are expected to be covered. A photo:

Adhar Camp at New Town: behind Nazrul Tirtha
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Two clippings:
Times of India dt 22 Feb 2015
Khabar 365 dt 22 Feb 2015

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Finance, Legal, Education, Health and Culture Hubs

Yesterday, I along with Meera Roy, Additional Secretary UD, T Som Special Engineer UD and Dinesh Mandal Land Manager UD went to Kalyani Estate Manager's Office and inspected certain sites. We talked of many things including building a Gate at entry to Kalyani, taking up schemes to create new housing space in place of old dilapidated buildings and process redesign for improvement of service delivery. I also inspected work site of Sewage Treatment Plant being constructed by KMDA under NGRBA.

I also inspected a site of 3 acres that will soon be put on e-auction for an educatonal institute. A photo:
Site of 3 acre auction at Kalyani for Educational Institute.
Below: advt in paper

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Here is a clipping :

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The next phase of the Financial Hub has been launched with the modification that Legal Firms can also participate. This is an outcome of the Global Bengal Business Meet held in January 2015 where it was recommended in the Financial Services sector group that Legal Entities in the Hub would add value. The EOI can be seen at Finance & Legal Hub EOI .

Incidentally, 17 Financial Institutions have taken part in the earlier phase. These are:

1. SBI 2. Bank of Baroda 3. Andhra Bank 4. Syndicate Bank 5. Bandhan Bank 6. Canara Bank 7. Directorate of Revenue Intelligence 8. UBI 9. UCO 10. Allahabad Bank 11.  WBFC 12. WBIDFC 13. Shriram Credit 14.  Bank of India 15. National Insurance Corporation 16.Corporation Bank 17 Union Bank

30 participants in the Education Hub was posted few days ago in this blog. In the Culture Hub,Nazrul Tirtha and Rabindra Tirtha are functioning efficiently. The large Convention Centre is being built too.

And here is a list of the Health Institutions in the Health Hub of New Town (19):


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Cherry Blossoms again

See last year's post at Sakura . The flowers are blooming again. A picture:

Asian Cherry Blossoms are blooming again
(Photo courtesy Sanjit Sharma)
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We had a training at UD on IT Security. C-DAC conducted this training. Two pics:

Here is a clipping:
Times of India dt 17 Feb 2015

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Educational Institutes in New Town

I just compiled a list of educational institutes coming up in New Town Kolkata. Here it is:

1. Presidency University
2. Sr Xavier'sUniversity
3. Aliah University (classes started)
4. Ramakrishna Mission Centre of Excellence
5. Belle Vue Nursing College
6. WBPDCL Training Institute
7. Amity University
8. Rabindra Bharati University
9. Netaji Subhas Open University
10. Ganguly Educational Society
11. Bhawanipor Gujrati Education Society
12. State Govt College
13. Techno India College (classes running)
14. Amri Nursing College
15.Delhi Public School (classes running)
16. Al Ameen Mission Trust
17. Shewtambar Engineering College
19. Institute of Chartered Accountants
20. IILM Foundation
21. Savitri Education Foundation
22. Chhaya Prakasani
23. Army Welfare Education Society
24. WBSEDCL Staff Training Centre
25. Institute of Engineering and Management
26. State Govt Vocational Institute
27. IIT Kharagpur
28. MM Educational Research Foundation
29. SBI Management Academy
30. State Social Welfare School

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Here are two clippings:
Hindustan Times dt 17 Feb 2015
Pratidin dt 17 Feb 2015

Monday, February 16, 2015

First Meeting of Advisory Committee of KIAC

The first meeting of the Advisory Committee of the Kolkata International Arbitration Centre was held today. Dr P Ishwara Bhat, Vice Chancellor of NUJS, Mr Debanjan Mandal and Ms Shruti Swaika of Fox & Mandal, Mr Siddhartha Datta of Amarchand Mangaldas, Mr Anjan Dasgupta of HSA Associates, Mr Subhas Pahari of Law Department, Mr Koley of Judicial Department, Mr Sutanu Kar JMD Hidco, Mr Suman Neogy GM Hidco, Mr Mrinal Mukherjee CE Hidco, Mr Samaresh Mitra CFO Hidco participated in the lively discussions. All were requested to give their opinions by email. It was broadly agreed as follows:

- 12,000 sq ft of space in floor above  National Green Tribunal would be earmarked for KIAC. Architect Firms  who have expertise in designing law offices will be consulted
- Facilities and services would be managed by professional agencies and use would be paid by the hour
- Training would be imparted to arbitrators by NUJS
- Rules would be framed
- Arbitration clauses in govt contracts would be standardised by Law department
-Chambers of Commerce and Professional Arbitration Associations of India / Singapore would be intimated

I also informed that Expression of Interest for Financial and Arbitration Hub has just been published in website EOI_Finance & Legal Hb today.
* * *
Here is a clipping:
Times of India dt 16 Feb 2015

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Incentives for Green Building and Parking Plazas in New Town

The Hidco Board met last Friday (13 Feb 2015) and decided to incentivize construction of Green Buildings in New Town. The Board noted that in terms of notication no. 4150-UD dt 18.12.2015, NKDA Rule 21 had been so amended so as to enable grant of 10% additional FAR for green buildings. The greenness would of course have to be suitably certified. The Board also noted that the notification also provided for additional parking facilities that would not be counted as consumption of FAR; this was to encourage multi-storied  parking spaces in big residential complexes, commercial malls, hospitals etc.
    Hidco Board adopted these changes and decided not to charge any additional fees. However, for availing additional FAR of up to 20% of normal FAR on fulfilling prescribed conditions (within 500m of metro corridor, provided road width was above 15m -for 15% - or 24m for 20%), fees would be leviable.
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Yesterday, a consultative conference on urban development was held at Nazrul Tirtha. All Eastern and North Eastern States were invited. The inaugural session was attended by Union Minister M Venkiah Naidu, State MIC Firhad Hakim and Union MoS Babul Supiyo. It started at 10 am and continued till 6.30pm.

Consultative Workshop at Nazrul Tirtha yesterday (14 Feb 2015)

First Floor of N'Tirtha: before start of workshop
Hon'ble Union Minister M Venkataiah being received at Nazrul
Tirtha yesterday morning
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A clipping:
Anandabazar dt 14 Feb 2015

Thursday, February 12, 2015

New Town Shops on Offer : Phase 2

In the Phase 2, shops and stalls in four markets of New Town will be allotted through lottery. Two of these are located in Action Area 1 and two in Action Area 2. I went to see the progress of construction recently: all four are rapidly converging towards completion.

Advertisement has already been published. Brochures will be available from Andhra Bank Hidco Bhavan Branch, Syndicate / Vijaya Bank New Town Branches from 2 March 2015 onwards. I held a meeting yesterday with CEO NKDA, FO NKDA, AO NKDA to finalise the design of the brochures.
Here is a copy of the advertisement:

     * * *
Two clippings:

ET dt 12 Feb 2015

Khabar 365 dt 12 Feb 2015

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Bangla Sangeetmela 2015

This year too, the Bangla Sangeetmela will be held in Rabindra Tirtha from this Friday (13 Feb 2015). Here is a photo of the inaugural ceremony invitation as published by the Information and Cultural Affairs department:

And here is a clipping from today's Khabar 365 (read the last paragraph in particular):

Monday, February 9, 2015

Bagjola Cleaning

 Bagjola Canal is the arterial drainage outlet of New Town as well as a large part of North 24-Paraganas including Dum Dum and adjoining areas. Irrigation department has started desilting and cleaning it. NKDA has started some bank-side plantation. A photo taken yesterday:
Bagjola Canal Cleaning:
Birds can be seen near the left bank 

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Here are a few clippings from today's papers:

Times of India dt 9 Feb 2015
Ei Samay dt 9 Feb 2015
Khabar 365 dt 9 Feb 2015
Khabar 365
dt 9 Feb 2015

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Urban Eco-village

A little while ago,I went to a large water-body in Action Area 2, at the backside of high-rise residential apartments like Malancha, Greenwood etc. We released some fishlings and wish to start angling soon. There will be a habitat for birds and ethnic village houses on the waterfront to make it a nature watchers' attraction. The first step would be to crate a fencing ring-around and then build traditional typical village house lookalikes from the rural areas of Santiniketan, Coochbehar, Bankura, Birbhum, Burdwan, etc. Angling, bird-watching, camping and photographing would be the main activities.

Two photos :
Site of Urban Eco-Village (Top) and AsokPatra, S. Giri, me and
 P Ghosh bottom)
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Here are some clippings from today's papers:

The Tlegraph dt 8 Feb 2015
Pratidin dt 8 Feb 2015
Hindustan Times dt 8 Feb 2015
Anandabazar dt 8 Feb 2015
Ekdin dt 8 Feb 2015
Khabar 365 dt 8 Feb 2015
And here is a link to Mint: Mint

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Rabisarani Launched at Kolkata Book Fair

At the Press Corner of Kolkata Book Fair today, we launched Rabisarani - a timeline of Tagore's Life and Work. We also formally launched the e-ticketing systems of Eco Park and Mother's Wax Museum.
L-R: Anup Motilal, me, S De, Sutanu Kar,Debjani Datta 
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Earlier, in the morning, I was in a seminar called "Infra East" organised by CII at ITC Sonar Bangla. Chief Minister of Mizoram was the Chief Guest and when I toldhim that I was the SpecialElection Observer to Mizoram in 2008 and that I had fond memories the natural beauty of the state,he graciously invited me to his state once again :) .
I find that the PTI has posted an article based somewhat on what I spoke.Tis can be seen here: PTI .

From the dais of InfraEast (organised by CII)

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Here is a clipping from today's Khabar 365:
Khabar 365 dt 7 Feb 2015
Here is a clipping from fortnightly: