Monday, August 31, 2015

Smart Fuel Pump at Action Area III

In its Board meeting of 28th August 2015, Hidco has decided to set up a new generation of petrol / fuel pump outlet in 2,000 sq m area of Action Area III. The location is at a point close to an intersection connection Shukhobrishti, Unitech, Rosedale, Arts Acre etc. The outlet will be a smart one with provision for utilities and also charging station for electric buses, electric cars and electric 3-wheelers. It would also be smart and offer Wi Fi and smart towers.

An e-auction will be held in course of soon.
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Here is a clipping:
Khabar 365 dt 31 August 2015

Sunday, August 30, 2015

ONGC to do Office Complex in New Town

ONGC was allotted a plot of land in New Town quite some time ago. This is a prime plot on Biswa Banga Sarani frontage. No project construction was happening. Hidco imposed a penalty for late start: 10% of land premim paid for every year of delay beyond 5 years. ONGC took the matter to High Court. On 11 August 2015 Hon'ble Court in WP No 18233 directed Basin Manager, West Bengal Region,ONGC and Chairman WBHIDCO to meet and report. We met.(Mr Murthy, ED ONGC came to the meeting with me). I informed that WBHIDCO had imposed the penalty on all late project implementors so as to discourage speculative hoarding of land. The demand was raised with ONGC too so as not to create discrimination among land owners of New Town. However,ED ONGC assured that a revised building plan would be submitted within 4 months and we agreed to withhold the penalty for 4 months. Hon'ble High Court in its order dt  17 August 2015 took notice of the position and disposed of the matter.

The Hidco Board, in its meeting on 28 August (last Friday) accepted the actions taken. It seems that the building will now start after required sanctions etc are obtained.
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Few clippings:
Ei Samay dt 29 Aug 2015

Khabar 365 dt
 30 Aug 2015

Times of India dt 30 August 2015

Friday, August 28, 2015

Boundary Wall of Presidency University Starts

The Presidency University has asked Hidco to construct its second campus in New Town Rajarhat. The construction of the boundary wall was started yesterday afternoon. The tender for the main two tower buildings will be invited next week.

Coconut breaking for Boundary of Second Campus of
Presidency University's second campus: 27 Aug 2015
Artist's Impression of Second Campus
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At Grand Hotel,27 Aug 2015
Few clippings:
Anandabazar dt 28 Aug 15

Times of India dt 28 August 2015

Times of India dt 28 August 2015

Ei Samay dt 28 Aug 2015
Pratidin dt 28 August 2015

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Smart Cities of Bengal in Union List

The Ministry of Urban Development released today a list of 98 smart cities of India. In West Bengal, the following four figure:

New Town Kolkata, Bidhannagar, Durgapur, Haldia.

I spoke to Mayor Durgapur Municipal Corporation, Administrator Bidhannagar, CEO NKDA and DMs of North 24-Paraganas, East Midnapore and Burdwan, with a request to take action for Smart City Plan (SCP). In fact the MoUD will hold a meeting on preparation of SCP, with all stakeholders on 11 September at Kolkata where  Union Minister Hon'ble Shri Venkaiah Naidu will be present too. (Chairman Haldia is out of station, it seems)
* * *
In the morning, I went to visit NASSCOM's warehouse at Sector 5 Salt Lake. A photo:

With NASSCOM's Nirupam Chaudhuri, Kamal Agarwal
and Ravi Ranjan and few trainees
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   A clipping:

Khabar 365 dt 27 August 2015

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

EWS lottery at Nazru Tirtha

There were 624 flats meant for the Economically Weaker Section. Applications were invited from land-losers of New Town Project.There were 461 valid applications.So all would get a flat (We have given 48 flats to Presidency University for their Students' as Hindu Hostel would be renovated). The lottery was meant to determine who got which flat. Retd Justice Seal was the observer judge. The process started at 10 am and got over at 11.30 am or so. A photo:

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Meeting with USA's Financial Specialist

I had a meting this afternoon with Ms Jinu Koola, Financial Attache to India, US Department of the Treasury and Ms Disha Dubey, Economic Specialist, US Department of the Treasury. It was Ms Koola's first visit to Kolkata. I told her about New Town, its Financial and Legal Hub, the economic themes of Education, Health and IT. We talked about Smart Cities and tax structure.

A picture:
L-R: Disha Dubey, Jinu Koola,me
25 August 2015
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As scheduled, we had a Skype Meeting with Future Cities Catapult (FCC) of UK. It took place at 1.30 pm today (9 am London time) at my chamber at Hidco Bhavan.. We discussed about the possibility of holding a workshop in late September or early November 2015 at Kolkata to chalk out a road map. We hoped to get some financial assistance from UKTI.  I explained that we could lay emphasis on people centric activities such as senior citizens' mobility.It seems FCC is working on a Smart City plan in Brazil since April this year. She asked about NGOs (Citizen Groups as she called them) in Kolkata who could be involved.

I indicated that Debapriyo Banerjee, CEO NKDA, would be thenodalperson from our side.
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Times of India dt 25 August 2015

Monday, August 24, 2015


The iconic sculpture resembling a set of lamps to welcome visitors to New Town has been named "Mangaldeep" by Hon'ble CM. Today, I went to the site with ArupGhosh, GM (Engg), Hidco to decide where to put name signboards.
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Few clippings:

ToI dt 24 Aug 2015

Times of India dt 24 August 2015
Times of India dt 24 August 2015

Ei Samay dt 24 Aug 2015

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Green Utility Buildings

I inspected two sites, one in Action Area 2 and one in Action Area 3 where two more Utility Buildings will be built. Each with an area of 1,500 sq m. But each building will conform to the specifications indicated by the Technical Committee of UD Department made after the workshop on Green Buildings was held some time ago.

Two utility buildings are already completed; few finishing works are only pending. One segment of 2,000 sq ft has already been taken by NKDA  in the Utility Building of AA2.. A library and a post office will also be set up there. WBPDCL, Gour Banga University etc are also looking for a space there. On the other hand, WBERC (West Bengal Electricity Regulatory Commission) has officially expressed a desire to buy the entire building of Action Area 3. My model of creating infrastructure before demand is really working in this segment, I find. When some institution has decided to set up a new office, they won't like to wait for another 2 years or so to build one: a ready-built space is  much more convenient.  And the office spaces are in units of 2,000 sq feet, the most common space requirement of a branch office, and can be combined for larger space requirements in units of 2,000 sq ft.

The two new buildings will use all design criteria recommented by the Green Building Committee of UD Department. Its Chairman was Mr Ananda Ganguly, ED Hidco, while Chief Architect NKDA and Head of the Department of Architecture, IIT Kharagpur and others were members. The Committee recommended some of the following (and more) that will be followed in these two buildings:
1. Use two glass panes, with a layer of 6 mm air in between,to ensure good insulation
2. Use Autoclaved Aerated Concrete bricks
3. Have dual plumbing system with water reuse facility
4. Have more open space than the minimum allowed under building laws
5. Use LED fixtures and 5 star rated electric appliances
6. Use solar panels
7. And few more
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Here is a clipping:
Khabar 365 dt 23 August 2015
Times of India dt 23 August 2015

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Next Phase of Financial and Legal Hub Planned

After the earlier phases of inviting expression of interests, 19 Financial Institutions have already taken plots in New Town Financial and Legal Hub. Now with the Government of India having given banking licences for payment only to select new banks, it has been decided to go for another round of inviting bids. At a roadshow organised by FICCI at Delhi on 8 Sep 2015, I will participate and talk about opportunities at the Financial Cluster at New Town, Kolkata. For the Bengal Global Business Summit 2016, we have sent invitation to Lord Mayor of the City of London, Chairperson of UKTI Financial Group and others. ASSOCHAM will be helping us as co-organisers.

In respect of the legal hub component, rules for running an arbitration centre has been sent to Ld Advocate General for advice since the Arbitration Act mandates that rules must be framed by the High Court. We are also seeking the views of Consulting Firm JLL to advise us on how to proceed for constructing a large building that will give space to Alternative Dispute Redressal Forums and Financial Sector enterprises. Meanwhile one floor of the Finance Centre is to be converted and developed as Kolkata International Arbitration Centre.
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Here is a clipping:

ToI dt 22 August 2015

Friday, August 21, 2015

Railway Clearance for Water Supply Project

The 100 mgd water project is inching towards the finishing line. Except for a stretch of 240m, the six feet thick pipe has been laid in almost its full length of 9 km from Tarulia in New Town to River Hoogly near Bagbazar. Now jack pushing by a tunnel boring machine under the circular railway track near the intake jetty at Debendrabala Ghat will be started as soon as the Eastern Railway authorities give their clearance. The matter is now under consideration of the Commissioner of Railway Safety. All technical details have been provided to them. I took the opportunity of the meeting of Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu with Hon'ble CM at Nabanna yesterday - where I was invited to be present through an announcement by Hon'ble CM at the end of Review Meeting in the afternoon regarding participants - to request for an early concurrence, highlighting that the approval would ensure drinking water to New Town, Salt Lake, Nabadiganta, South Dum Dum and Habra. Hon'ble Railway Minister requested GM Eastern Railway to see to it and also to minute it in the proceedings for follow up.
Meeting at 6.30pm on 20 Aug 2015 at Nabanna
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Few clippings:

Ei Samay dt 21 August 2015
Anandabazar dt 21 August 2015

Salt Lake Telegraph dt 21 August 2015 (Top and below)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Administrative Calendar - A Goal Oriented Approach

In a recent review of the Government Administrative Calendar for 2015, I find that there were 82 work items that were listed for completion in the Urban Development Department. A large majority of these projects are completed while few are on the verge of completion.

In a recent review meeting in Hidco recently, we decided to shortlist six major projects that would be completed within the calendar year 2016. After discussion with the officers and engineers of Hidco and NKDA we decided to put the following projects on the six pages of the calendar by using smart graphics superimposed on actual site photographs, to show how it will look like. This would serve as a constant reminder of our commitments to achieve goals set by ourselves as each day of the year would roll by:

1. State Convention Centre (Main Auditorium)
2. Pedestrian Subway connecting Mother's Wax Museum and Eco Park
3. Upasanasthal
4. Swimming Pool and Sports Club
5. Cafe Ekante on Boat
6. Tea Lounge with Tea Garden

The list can be slightly modified too : possible further entries>> Kolkata Gate, 100 mgd Water Supply, Smart Parking and Smart light poles, Deer Park, Third Bagjola Bridge , Herbal Garden, Tea Lounge etc

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Here is a clipping:

Hindustan Times dt 20 August 2015

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Hon'ble CM in Cafe Ekante

On her way back from Delhi today, Hon'ble Chief Minister visited Eco Park and visited Cafe Ekante for the first time. She advised us to organise an event in Eco Park this year during the festival period. We will start exploring soon. We also learnt of a food festival that will be held soon after Pujas at Eco Park.

A couple of photos on my mobile (taken by Suman Neogy) :

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

UKTI for Inward Investment Planning

This afternoon, Mr St John Gould, Director, UK Trade, Investment and Prosperity - India, Mr Scott R Wood, British Deputy High Commission in Kolkata, Mr R Chanda and Mr Saugata Sen met me at Hidco and talked of ways to follow up on the London visit. I mentioned of an earlier study by the Kolkata Br Dy High Commission that, inter alia, identified that UK experts could help make city specific planning to draw out investors to consider investing: inward investment planning, according to them. I asked what would make Google invest in New Town - could be such a design challenge.
We agreed that this would be a good place to start a collaboration.

Besides, we agreed on work on Public Cycle Scheme, Electric Buses, academic collaboration with  Future Cities Catapult, Financial Services Sector and Smart Cities.
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Few clippings:

Khabar 365 dt 18 August 2015

Khabar 365 dt 18 August 2015

Monday, August 17, 2015

Workshop on Analytics City at BCCI

Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industries organised a workshop to spread awareness about the Analytics City at Kalyani. There were valuable comments from many. The plan was discussed in details.
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Here are few clippings:

Ei Samay dt 17 Aug 2015

ToI dt 17 Aug 2015
(Top and Below)

Visit the following link:
Digitising India

Saturday, August 15, 2015

69th Independence Day

In the morning, I hoisted flags at Hidco, NKDA and UD Department. Attended cultural function at National Green Tribunal at Finance Centre Building. Thereafter I planted sapling at site of Urban Eco Village:
Assistant GM(Fisheries) T K Giri (in blue full-shirt) helping
me to plant sapling (Bakul) at EcoVillage 

Then I inaugurated the Area Office of NKDA at the Utility Building in Action Area 2,near Akankha Rotary. This is to bring service delivery closer to people of Action Area 2 as well as to decongest existing office building of NKDA opposite Nazrul Tirtha:

Other floors in this utility building is  likely to be taken by Post Office,
 Gaur Banga University,Library etc besides NKDA
Secretary of Information Ministry of Bangladesh visited Mother'sWax Museum in the morning and was thrilled to know that the new wax model of Bangabandhu Sheik Mujibar Rahman was ready only yesterday and would be opened to public shortly:

Bangladesh Secretary of Information in MWM on 15 Aug 2015: To be inaugurated later

   In the afternoon, at Rabi Aranya in EcoPark, "Eco Walk" was launched in association with Prantakatha,an NGO in presence of Prof Maria Fernandes, Vice Chairperson WB Minorities Commission,Ms Dipa Banerjee, Member WB Transgender Development Board, Bappaditya CEO Prantakatha and others.
Eco Walk being Launched
At Swapna Bhor, a celebration through cultural programme by Seniors was held in association with Dignity Foundation:
Cultural Performance at Swapna Bhor by Senior Citizens
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Here are a few clippings:

Khabar 365 dt 15 Aug 2015
Times of India dt 15 August 2015
Advertisement in ToI dt 15 Aug 2015

Ei Samay dt 15 Aug 2015

Friday, August 14, 2015

New Wax Statue on Independence Day Eve : To be inaugurated soon

A new wax statue of Sheikh Mujibar Rahman was installed today at the Mother's Wax Museum. I took the following picture last evening while the installation was still in progress. It will be unveiled soon. The background graphics are changed now. I will put a new photograph soon.

New Statue at
An updated pcture:
Photo courtesy Sk Jahid
To be inaugurated later

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The herbal garden at Eco Park, spread over three acres, is ready for inauguration. Already few ayurvedic saplings have been planted. We took a walk by the garden today afternoon. Here is a photo of its entrance gate:

Herbal Garden in Eco Park
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Here is a clipping: