Friday, December 1, 2017

Future of Blockchain in India

Prof Dr Bart Preenel, Belgium, Prof Dr Kouichi Samurai, Japan, me, Satyam Lokam , Microsoft and J A Chowdhury, AP. At ISI Panel discussion today. .

There was a panel discussion today at Indian Statistical Institute. This was at the end of a 3-day workshop on Blockchain. I attended the inaugural tutorial lecture and another on coding. Today I was at the panel discussion.
I learnt many things and i mentioned that on Wednesday 6th Dec we would have a strategy discussion to chalk out Bengal's approach.

Some key takeaways:
- The Bitcoin bubble will probably burst and it would be risky to deal in ICOs (initial Coin Offerings) and Cryptocurrency in the public sector.
- A government backed cryptocurrency with matching assets would be better than normal physical currencies as it would be less fungible and a traceable trail (because of embedded hash functions) and so chance of theft and black money would be less. There was a discussion on payment tokens for Self Help Groups using cryptocurrency. Japan has been trying a version of J-currency in this fashion
- Estonia and Sweeden are doing good work on blockchains. Dubai is also forging ahead.
- There are promising e-governance applications like smart contracts, land registry, car ownership, driving licences etc
- Crowdsourced infrastructure funding was also discussed.
- Bank / financial institution cybersecurity could be strengthened by blockchains
- Supply chain management
- International money transfers in real time (few seconds)

Energy Savings in Street Lights by Smart Technology

Street No 333, New Town. With energy
saver on (top) and off (bottom)

The idea of this pilot path breaking project is to switch off one third of street lights until and unless a car passes.
The challenge was to see that a person or a cattle should not trigger on the lights that are supposede to be switched on only when a car passes. So traditional motion sensors, IR sensors or photo-electric and light based sensors were ruled out. Ruled out also was any pressure sensitive trigger because bullock carts, for example, can trigger the mechanism.
So we thought of eddy currents, earth's magnetic field and recalled that the car is made of metal .
The sensor is based on a copper loop and embedded underneath the surface of the road. One at one end of the road on the entry lane, and one on the other lane of the road, again at the entry lane.
When a car enters Street 333, it disturbs the linked terrestrial magnetism linked to the embedded coil and generates an eddy current. This is amplified and used to switch on the till-then-unlit street lights. It switches off after 5 minutes automatically through a timer mechanism, 5 minutes being the average time required for a car to traverse he 1 km length of road no 333.
I saw it in operation yesterday. Working fine.
Few details:
Street no 333 is between Biswa Bangla Sarani near Bagjola Canal and connects to Major Arterial Road near Alia University/ Amity University.
39 light poles, 80 LED Street Light  Assemblies. 52 such light assemblies (read bulbs in simple terms !) connected to sensors. Total estimated cost savings Rs 2 lakhs per year

Monday, November 20, 2017

Senior Living in Rajarhat New Town

Eco Park Toy Train Ride: For the Young and the Senior

Rajarhat New Town is designed for all, young and old. That is why there are Sonar Kella Park, Vivek Tirtha and Shishu Tirtha for the Children but also Swapna Bhor for the Seniors.  New Town Business Club and star hotels in New Town co-exist with Swapna Bhor and Snehodiya, the a new generation independent living habitat expected to be commissioned in 2018.
Swapna Bhor consists of a long walking path around a large lush green lawn. There are handrails in the pathway and tactile projections on the path. Four golden Buddhas, two aviaries and a large central aquarium add a sense of tranquillity and peaceful living. Garden swings and bamboo covered gazebos allows members to enjoy nature. Laughing arena, kitchen garden and pet shop allow networking among members. An e-Health clinic with modern diagnostic devices offer health check-up facilities within the campus.

The community building is a stunning architecture reminiscent of British India’s pavilions on the race course. Overlooking a large green playground, its first floor wide balcony offers a ringside view of what goes on in the greens below. Two air-conditioned community halls adorned with original paintings and tasteful interiors host cultural events, educative talks and dance performances every now and then. The ground floor has a reading room and library with a coffee shop, where book releases are organised on and off, reminding one of the Oxfordbookstore in Park Street or Delhi. The adjoining games room is privy to many indoor games and competitions on carom generate enthusiastic participation. Group tours and Sunday evening functions are very popular among the 500 members of Swapna Bhor, the only dedicated seniors’ facility of its kind in India.

Opposite Swapna Bhor, across the road on the northern side, a 100 room independent living habitat is being built. Application forms are on sale. There are 100 plus AC rooms, each with an attached restroom, a sitting/living space and a bedroom, furnished in a senior friendly manner. Common facilities and lounge on each floor, attendant in every two floors, basic support services and add-on ones. Tastefully decorated on the rural Bangla cottages stacked one above the other, two floors even have its own walking space balcony.

Snehodiya and Swapno Bhor will complement each other in ways that have not happened anywhere in the country in terms of adding value for a second innings in one’s life.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Residential Plots

In the Hidco stall at Realty Expo now being held at Netaji Indoor Stadium we are displaying many innovative models being adopted to cater to different segments of the state and society. This is an age of personalisation and we think that products must follow the individual's preferences.

The most innovative example out on display is the residential plots at Gitabitan Township at Santiniketan. There are over 400 plots but 154 are right now put out for application. More than 500 brochures have been sold and completed applications are being accepted in designated bank branches. Lottery will be held to determine the allottees. The point to note - the innovativeness - is that the pots will be given with sanctioned building plans. Thus the owner doesn't have to engage an architect, get all clearances and apply for sanction of the plan. The plot with a sanctioned plan will be allotted together. The owner will also be given the option of getting the house made through a govt agency (SSDA) at a pre-fixed cost, of which there will be three or more options depending on finishing preferences. Of course, the owner will also be free to engage her own agency or worksmen too.

An equally innovative approach is about allotment of suites / rooms in Snehodiya, a habitat for senior citizens in New Town, located just opposite to Swapna Bhor, the Seniors' Park. You pay an amount (say Rs 25 lakhs) initially but get back 75% on vacating it, no matter how long you actually occupy. Thus, upon the demise of an occupant, 75% of the money is to be received back by the nominee who can then use it to buy her / his own property. Or if the occupant shifts and vacates. Once vacant, the suite is to be reallotted to another senior applicant. No interest however is payable and food / housekeeping charges are payable monthly.

And perhaps for the first time, we are putting up 25 residential plots on e-auction. This was based on our experience that for 75 plots in the same area of New Town, for the HIG category, there were about 1:30 applicants. Thus, for every plot, there were 29 dissatisfied persons. Now they can participate in an e-auction that allows an applicant who pays the EMD of Rs 1.5 lakhs 25 opportunities, if he / she so likes to apply, of outbidding other bidders. Te last date of application for appearing in the e-auction is in the last week of this month (Nov 2017).

Details are being explained in the Hidco pavilion at Netaji Indoor Stadium.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Singapore Fintech Festival : Panel Discussion

At panel discussion at Singapore
The topic of the panel discussion at the Singapore Fintech Festival at Singapore Expo (name of the convention centre) was: India: Opportunities and Challenges in Fintech.

The session was moderated by Ms Ritu Singh of CNBC. Other panelists were from SBI, Axis Bank and Venture Capitalist.

I mentioned that Fintech and Blockchain holds the promise to India with its digitised economy, 99% Adhar coverage of adults, and increasing trend of FinTech adoption. I mentioned that early development was happening in Kolkata (Fintech Hub and Blockchain), Vizag (Fintech) and Mumbai (Fintech City).

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Blockchain For Bengal

Yesterday we had a meeting with various stakeholders in the IT&E Sector and deliberated on the way forward for strategy to be adopted in 2018 for positioning Bengal as a leader in the Global New Technology Eco System.

We recognised that unilateral vertical knowledge silos no longer work: this is the age of networking, clustering and co-working . It is not enough to man a centre with experts knowing C++, Java, Python or Ionic2 codes: there must be inputs from other field specialists as well. With traditional skills of Bengal in mathematics and statistics, with the existence of Indian Statistical Institute as well as other institutions like IIT, IIIT, IIEST,  IIM, Presidency, Science College, Bose Institute, SINP and more, Bengal has been producing a large amount of leadership in Cybersecurity, Fintech and Data Sciences the world over in recent years.

We therefore decided to project the game-changing Blockchain Technology to be the anchor theme for Bengal's strategy in the IT World in the short and medium term. Blockchain has deep linkages to FinTech, Data Sciences and Cybersecurity and indeed all of these are related to each other at a deep level. Blockchains provide secured public databases that are free from cyber attacks. Blockchain Technology is the basis of Bitcoins, Ethereums and Initial Coin Offerings in the realm of FinTech zone. Blockchain is linked to data sciences in public database managements.

A recent report in Economist suggests that the latest frenzy in global markets is cryptocurrency. It is a derivative of Blockchain Technology. The price of the best known cryptocurrency, bitcoin, has risen by 700% last year. ICOs or Initial Coin Offerings have drawn in more than $3.2 billion in crowd-sourced funds this year, as per the report.

In New Town, a FinTech Hub has already been conceptualized, near the Financial Hub, where tech firms and New Technology Ventures will be provided space to work with Financial Institutions - of which 23 have already taken up space in the Finance Hub. A wing of a new building, designed architecturally to be IT friendly, in New Town will house a Centre of Excellence on Cybersecurity. A call has been given to Blockchain experts to create a pilot scheme of land records in Sector 5 and New Town. And West Bengal is participating in the India Pavilion in the Singapore FinTech Festival next week.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Drone Centre

In New Town Smart City proposal, I had proposed monitoring and surveillance of cleanliness, traffic jams, road repair and solid waste management monitoring using drones. DJI Phantom drones are available with cameras at less than Rs 1 lakh at various e commerce sites. But import of drones - most are Chine made - are not allowed. Very recently, the Civil Aviation Ministry has brought out a draft policy. We went through it today and jotted down our observations. For example, we have suggested that night flying may be allowed for enabling wedding photographs to be taken. We will soon write to DGCA.

In particular, and among others, we will promote designated areas in Kalyani, Falta, Naihati and Kolkata as drone testing and demonstration zones. We will also encourage Sonarpur hardware manufacturing park as a preferred destination for manufacturing drones by giving plots at affordable rates.
* * *
West Bengal is seriously considering to become a hub of drone manufacturing in India. The recently published “Requirements for Operation of Civil Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS)” was reviewed by IT&E Department and the feedback on the guidelines are being shared with DGCA. Department of IT & E, Government of West Bengal and Webel, is in consultation with different organisations focusing on drone manufacturing, assembling and providing training on Unmanned Aircraft flying. They are also taking the opinion of the different authorities like Kolkata Police, Kolkata Municipal Corporation and other eminent personalities experienced in Defence and Air Operations. The State Government is aiming to leverage the existing infrastructure in Kalyani, Naihati, Falta to make the state as the Drone Manufacturing epicenter of the country.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Technology for Cities : Facial Recognition

Discussion with IBM team, Police, Hidco and NKDA yesterday, 19th October 2017 at Hidco
We had a brainstorming session yesterday with IBM team led by Mr Anindya Mitra, Director, Sandipan Sarkar, Executive Architect IBM, Assistant Commissioner of Police, and HIDCO/NKDA senior officers. The objective was to pinpoint use of cutting edge technology for helping the man on the street. I mentioned that using AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Facial Recognition techniques through live analysis of CCTV feeds people committing crimes or petty nuisances could be identified: we could send fine notices to men who committed nuisance on road or dirtied public places. Public spaces would also be safer for women if real-time analysis of CCTV feeds could send alarm to police in live mode. We also talked of using analytics on CCTV in real time to predict traffic accidents / collisions and make the roads safer than now. Preventing traffic jams before they happen would also be a desired outcome.
Executive Software Architect IBM Mr S Sarkar said that access to photographic archives like driving licences, aadhar etc would be helpful. I mentioned that the 9th Sep 2017 issue of The Economist carried a cover story entitled "Nowhere to Hide: What Machines can tell from your face" and that we could harness the advances for real life benefits.
The IBM team would  visit the control room of Bidhannagar Police Commissionarate and revert to us with a concept note.

Friday, October 13, 2017

A jewel in the sky: Biswa Bangla Convention Centre to be inaugurated today 13 Oct 2017

Hon'ble Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will inaugurate the Biswa Bangla Convention Centre today at 6pm. I'll post more photos later. A write-up is given below. See my special comments at end :)
* * *
Government of West Bengal has developed  a state of the art Township  named New Town Kolkata through West Bengal Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd. (WBHIDCO). The township  has a designed  population  of 10.00 lakhs  with 5.00 lakhs floating  people.   Major infrastructure  of the township are almost complete including roads, electricity, drainage, sewerage system etc. with modern facilities.
It has undertaken  a considerable  number of projects which are unique  in the country such as :
Eco Park :  It has developed  a huge Eco  Park titled as ‘Prikriti Tirtha’  with around  480 acres of land including  water bodies of around 100 acres.
Mother’s Wax Museum is developed as a great attraction to the visitors .  It has also value added features to the City of Kolkata.
Rabindra Tirtha and Nazrul Tirtha  have been developed  which have become important centres  in the field of art and culture of Bengal.
A well designed park  named “Swapno Bhor” has been developed for senior people of the city . Besides a Senior citizens home named “Snehodiya’ is coming up.
It has also become an important non-polluted industrial center of  Kolkata  where around 70,000 people are already  working in the IT & ITeS sector.
A well designed  Financial & Legal hub is coming up  very rapidly.
A ‘Business Club’  is developed  by NKDA with modern facilities like swimming pools, Tennis court, Basket Ball court, Gymnasium , badminton court etc.
To give the city a smart and modern shape, Wi-Fi facility is on along the Biswa Bangla Sarani .
WBHIDCO has also developed Eco Urban Village along with   water bodies .
Biswa Bangla Convention Centre:
A  huge Convention Centre titled as “Biswa Bangla Convention Centre” has been developed recently which has  added another  valued feather to the city and is scheduled to be opened by Hon’ble Chief Minister, West Bengal  on 13th October, 2017.   A 100 plus room  annexed star hotel is also coming up  in the same campus.
The major features of this Convention Centre are :
A mega Convention Hall with a seating capacity of 3200 people.
2 large Exhibition-cum-Banquet halls with a total carpet area of 9050 sq.ft.
2 small  Exhibition-cum-Banquet halls with a total carpet area of 5110 sq.ft.
Spacious pre-function area in 3 floors having a carpet area of 12500 sq.ft. in each floor.
2 smaller capacity auditoriums  each with a seating capacity of 400 people are coming up.
Extensive Food and beverage facilities during conferences catered through provision of banquet  kitchens and satellite kitchens  at all the levels of conferences.
A Multi-level car parking facility is available.
In the meantime,   already booking enquiries till 2019 are being received and dates are being blocked by various organizations for professional conventions and other uses which is most encouraging.
* * *
My special comments:
This is the only huge auditorium that is located in the sky: the stage / dias is at 17 metre level - at level 4 - supported by stilts. The idea is to make its towering height visible from a long distance.  The shape is like a gem, a diamond, by using 20m projection for the upper gallery. See the logo of the Convention Centre in the picture above. The visual impact is unique and stunning. As if someone is holding aloft a gem in the sky with an outstretched hand.

The space below the elevated auditorium contains a focal atrium that is so beautiful that it has to be experienced. Its shape reminds subtly of a jewel. A grand staircase with subtle white-on-white designs descends to the hollow to the level zero which has 3 banquet halls and art gallery. Two banquet halls have towering heights that add to the awe. A fourth hall is on level 2. The entrance at level two welcomes with a black-on-black granite pattern into a scenario of tungsten bulbed ceiling (modernity) and Bangla handicrafts (culture) on the walls and all around. A conch shell installation welcomes the visitor to the grand  descending staircase.

There is an art gallery at level 0 and exhibition spaces in level 0 and 1 and 4 where the main auditorium is located. 3,200 seats: 2,000 in lower tier, 1,000 on upper. A distance from the last audience so large that the audio electronic circuit has a delay introduced to prevent echo to allow sound waves which travel slow to catch up.

The dais is so large that that the height is equivalent to a three storied house. All wings, backdrops and cyclorama are motor controlled. A building management centre keeps an eye on what's happening through 100 CCTVs.

The top of the 5 level car parking is an elevated podium with green lawns and infinity water pool - infinity because water continuously rolls out of the edge like an unending waterfall.

No wonder, BBCC is getting booking enquiries till 2019. The first convention of 3,000 doctors will take place in November this year. It is an important addition in making Kolkata a preferred M.I.C.E destination.
* * *

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Online popularity of Pujas

NKDA organised a smart online voting system to judge the best pujas. The idea was also to test the community networking in New Town, the effectivity of crowdsourcing. We had given very little lead time: it was announced the day after the Mahalaya day at a meeting with Puja organisers of New Town (see my blog post few days earlier at The last date of voting was midnight of Dashami.

A total of about 4,000 votes were polled. The top six on the popularity scale were:

1. NBCC Vibgyor Tower
2. Eastern Grove
3. Alakai Block
4. Animikha
5. Balaka
6. CE Block

Prizes would be given in December in course of New Town Mela.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

IT Golf in December

Planning for IT Golf: Yesterday 2 Oct 2017

Yesterday, we reviewed the outcome of the just concluded "India Learn Golf Week" where the Eco Park Golf Arena also took part. Members of Indian Golf Industry Association (including Mr P K Bhattacharya, DG, IGIA), Corporates (including Mr S Mukherjee of Idea Cellular)  and New Town Business Club Members (Mr S Neogy, Mr D Sarkar) as well as Golf Knowledge Partner Himalayan Footprints (Mr Neil Law) assembled and we took a review. We noted that although a lot of inquiries had come, because of the rains and the Pujas, not many people actually turned up. Many requested for a repeat event after a few weeks.

Going by the feedback received, we decided yesterday to organise a "Corporate Golf Day" on Friday 17th November arena when corporates mostly from New Town Rajarhat and Sector 5 Salt Lake would be invited to take part in an Induction Golf for novices and longest-drive competition for veterans. There would be no charges but only corporates would be allowed to nominate individual players. A CCC (Corporate Cycling Competition) was organised recently (13 August 2017) at Sector 5 Nabadiganta very successfully with more than 300 participants from corporates of Sector 5.

This would be followed by an IT Golf on 7-9 Deceber 2017. A large number of Chief Informatics Officers are expected to be around because of the Infocom Event to be held at ITC Kolkata and we decided to make the Driving Range free for use by delegates on all three days. The IT Minister and senior officers of Webel, NKDA, HIDCO, NDITA, Indian Golf Union and IT&E Department would be requested to network with the players to project Bengal as a destination. I would, of course, be there all three days.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Upasanasthal New Town Immersion grows popular

Yesterday there was no immersion at New Town Immersion Gat called Upasanasthal. On Dashami, a total of 161 immersions took place, went on till 1 am, of which a majority (81) came from outside New Town while 80 were from New Town. NKDA keeps a careful count as outside New Town Pujas have to pay a token amount of Rs 500. No fees are payable for New Town Pujas. In exchange, the best possible service is provided to all, as follows:

1. Three sets of labour gangs are deployed to offload idols from trucks, carry to ghat and immerse after observing rites like rotating. No puja community member is required, or encouraged, to go to the water. No payments to be settled: the labour units are paid by NKDA on a per idol basis. Two idols are offloaded at a time while the thirs labour group takes a break. It is also safe since untrained enthusiastic puja members are not allowed to go to the water.
2. A Disaster Management Police Speedboat is kept on standby to watch for any emergencies.
3. A country boat team is kept on water to pull away the floating idols to prevent congestion near the bank of the ghat.
4. There are extensive arrangements of vats for flowers, puja materials, plastics etc and workers continuously empty these to make it effective for all puja immersions. Sweeping teams keep the paved area off the ghat clean ebery 15 - 20 minutes. Cranes (hydras) lift the wooden frames from the water by next day morning.
5. An officer with a cordless mike walks around in the paved well-lit arena to remind people of little Dos and Don'ts in real time (don't get into water, throw flowers in vats, come to the dais for Dhunuchi Dance etc). A first aid camp, a police camp, a cash counter and a tea shop stall is opened. Free drinking water in glasses is provided for all.
6. A dais cum observation deck is manned by senior officers (see pic below) to see the proceedings clearly at all times and take necessary action.
7. Dhunuchi-cum-dhak competition and arati dance (5 minutes each Puja group) is performed near the dais and evaluated for prizes to be given during New Town Mela in December.

Today (Monday) too all arrangements for immersion will be made.
* * *
Monday 2 Oct: Immersions: New Town 3, Outside New Town 22, Total 25

Few pictures:
At dais at Upasanasthal Immersion Ghat:
CEO NKDA, DC (Police), JMD Hidco, me and others. Overseeing.

NKDA Tean lifting Idol while members enjoy
Dhunuchi Dance by women at Upasanasthal Ghat
Country Boat to tow away idols in water to prevent congestion near
stairs of ghat

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Online Smart Voting for Best Puja in New Town

Vote to make your Puja Win !
Go to

Choose your favourite community Puja


And make your pandel win ! Or the Durga image ! Or overall.

Tell your friend, friends' friends, and friends of friends' friends :) to vote as well. More the better.

* * *
Till last year, NKDA used to organise a special Puja Parikrama with eminent persons as judges to rank Pujas of New Town. This year we have launched, instead, a popularity based system, crowdsourcing from people who are involved, building up a community bonding and team spirit as well.

Smart way to select a winner !

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Minister to launch Shehodiya tomorrow from Swapna Bhor

Minister Firhad Hakim will release the application kit for rooms at Snehodiya tomorrow 25th Sep at 3pm at Swapna Bhor. He will also visit a sample demonstration room in the Snehodiya Complex. Sale of application kits will begin immediately thereafter from selected Axis Bank branches.
Dr Sukumar Mukherjee will be the Chief Guest of this launch ceremony.

I along with GM Arup Ghosh and others inspected the project and made plans for the demonstration room. The project is likely to be completed by December 2018.

 Applications will be received till 31st May 2018. There would be 57 double bedded rooms and 90 single bedded rooms. One has to be 55 years as on 1.1.2017 to be eligible to apply.  The rooms in the two floors of 9th and 10th are premium rooms.
* * *
(Later: 25th Sep, Evening)
Application Kit launched today (25th Sep 2017) at Swapna Bhor
by Minister Firhad Hakim.
Me, Minister, Dr Sukumar Mukherjee, Dr S. Debnath,
VP Axis Bank

Drawing Room

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Aroti Competition

Meeting with Puja Committees of New Town today: At Najrul Tirtha

We held a meeting of all Puja Committees of New Town (71 this year) at Najrul Tirtha today. IC of Police, CEO NKDA and CE NKDA were also present. We decided to continue with our traditions of lining up at Upasanasthal during immersion and having the traditional Dhunuchi Dance with Dhaks. I added another event this year. I appealed Puja organisers to have a Aroti dance with Pradeeps in a group and NKDA would give prizes to the best performing nes. I also added that in keeping with the smart nature of New Town, all Cultural Secretaries of all Puja Committees could organise a WhatsApp/ Facebook/ Twitter induced popularity votes to select the best cultural function (song, dance, recitation, skit etc) and that on receipt of the nominations the winners would be invited to showcase the performances at the city level cultural stage at New Town Mela on 24-31 December 2017.
I also requested Puja organisers to plant a tree each and send the photograph through WhatsApp along with a photo of the tree that was planted last year. We would post these on NKDA website. At least one Puja organiser re,arked that they'd plant 200 trees and another lamented that he could not send a picture of last year's tree as cows had eaten these: we all recorded his good will though and advised barricades this year.
We also decided, in the best New Town tradition, of being a model city of not violating any rule (mike, crackers, clean, green, immersion guidelines) that may be in existence or to be advised.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Services for Snehodiya

We held a review meeting yesterday on launching application kit of Snehodiya before the Pujas. We are trying to complete a model demonstration room unit before the Pujas so that people can experience the look and feel of a room. My attempt to slightly hurry is to bank upon the homecoming effect of Durgapuja, when sons and daughters living away try to come back to their families and think of togetherness during the festive period.

Snehodiya is located just opposite to Senior's Park at Plot No.BC/100/2 in AA-IB in
Action Area-I. There will be a G+10 main building, 2-storied Guest House. Each floor of
main building will have 5-12 twin sharing rooms with drawing/pantry space and
balcony, attached toilet. In each floor there will be attendant's room, common pantry,
spacious sitting place, designed by well known architect firm. There are 57 double
occupancy rooms and 90 single occupancy rooms.

This is a place for preferred living in a smart way. Theses are professionally managed, offering life style choice, 24x7 care for fitness and health. The allottees can invite their family to stay in the adjoining Guest House. They can get relief from home maintenance and enjoy maximum independence in life. There are entertainment facilities, facilities to improve social interaction, security of life and free membership in Swapno Bhor (Senior's Park) right opposite.

We are also trying for support / care service providers through an enlistment process for the following services. Residents can use their services on payment direct to them on an optional basis:
The present Expression of Interest for empanellment will expire soon but we hope to relaunch again.
* * *
See also

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Light and Sound Show at "Sculpture Garden on History of Bengal"

The Sculpture Garden on the History of Bengal will be inaugurated by Minister Firhad Hakim on 20th September, Wednesday, at Eco Park. There will be a special light and sound show explaining the story of each of the relief panels. A unique feature is that the light and sound show keeps the audience moving from one panel to another in groups, moving as if with the passage of time, rather than sit and view from one place. For the elderly and very young, there will be few benches but most will have to stand-and-walk around to get the fascinating story. It will be open during day time also but the magical show will, of course, be missing. Artist Suvaprasanna (concept and art direction), Architect Partha Ranjan Das (Architectural Planning) and the group of young artists who made the panels are expected to be present along with Minister Hakim.
* * *
About Sculpture Garden on the History of Bengal:-

A public sculpture garden on history of Bengal accessible to all has been set up at Eco Park. This is an outdoor garden dedicated to the presentation of sculpture. The idea of this sculpture garden has been conceived to portray the important land marks of the history of Bengal ranging from Shri Chaitanya Mahapravu of the medieval Bengal to Rabindranath Tagore of the 19th Century & 20th Century focusing on the appearance of a host of remarkable Bengali individuals in different walks of life and their profound, abundant and vital contribution to the society and the country as a whole. The panels of sculpture starts with the history of medieval renaissance in Bengal led by Shri Chaitanya and ends with Rabindranath Tagore’s ideals of education and foundation of Visva Bharati.
The 12 panels (Murals) are focused on:
Shri Chaitanya, the middle age renaissance of Bengal
Battle of Plassey
Raja Ramohan Roy & Renaissance of Bengal
Anandamath – Bankimchandra, The awakening of Bengal of India
Swami Vivekananada-Call of Youth and his activities
Santal Rebellion
The Indigo Movement
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose –Azad Hind Fauz and his revolution
Shri Arobindo – Revolutionary converted to a Rishi
Lalan Fakir to Kazi Nazrul Islam- a different spirit of revolution and culture
Rabindranath Tagore- The Visva Bharati Movement
Satyajit Ray and his world of films

In addition to the 12 panels (Murals) as above there are 52 portraits which starts with Shri Chaitanya Mahapravu and ends with Begum Rokeya. This lists include the host of remarkable individuals who through their activities in different walks of life prove to be the makers of the history of Bengal, especially in the 19th century.
A light and sound show will be held on evenings of duration about 40 minutes for each episode. These will be done alternatingly in English as well as Bengali. Unlike most other light and sound shows where the visitors sit at one place, here the visitors will be taken around the one acre sculpture garden with narration as if going along with the passage of time. Initially, tickets will be priced at a discounted rate of Rs 30 per head for first few weeks.
The design is conceived by Suvaprasanna, eminent artist. Principal architect is Partha Ranjan Das. Engineering is by Hidco. Sculptures are created by artistes Priyanka Kar, Chaitali Chanda, Subir Hati, Debabrata De, Samir Ray, Asim Pa, Deep Saha and Gautam Barman..
The Sound and Light part has been directed by Mr Beenu Pasricha while narration is by Shri Barun Chanda and Meghna Sen (English) and Madhumantri Maitra and Satinath Mukherjee (Bengali). The light electronics have been done in consultation with Mr. Kelvin Ashey.

* * *
Please see

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Cluster Approach : Visit of Ambassador of Mongolia : FinTech

Image may contain: 2 people, indoor
Mongolian Ambassador, Consul and me: Yesterday, at IT&E Deptt,
at my office in Sector 5

Yesterday, His Excellency the Ambassador of Mongolia to India visited the IT&E Department at Sector 5. I learnt a lot of Mongolia (extremely picturesque and touristic, script is phonetic and is written in a vertical manner - top to bottom, size is half of India but population is 33 lakhs, temp is -22 deg C in winter, promoting IT, Smart New Cities and data warehouse centres).

I explained our approach of doing IT in clusters. About the Sector 5 - New Town continuum ( we viewed from the glass wall of my office chamber), he remarked that it looked like a combination of Silicon Valley and Cocacabana beach of Rio de Janeiro ! I added that IT Hub, Analytic City at Kalyani (planned and earmarked), hardware clusters at Kalyani (IoT focus), Sonarpur (ICT focus) and Falta (Health ITeS focus) were examples of strategy for accelerated economic growth. I also added that the Education Hub of New Town (IIT, Presidency, St Xaviers' , Alia, Amity, UEM and other Universities) and the Financial Hub (23 institutions) of New Town have made us focus on the cluster approach once again to launch the FINTECH HUB in New Town. Formally this is being launched today at a CII Seminar on Banking at Lalit Great Eastern Hotel (I was supposed to be there but have to go out of Kolkata; Debjit Ganguly of NKDA will make a presentation and launch on my behalf at the CII seminar).

Here is a small animation that will be shown to explain this at the seminar today:

The notice inviting Expression of Interest can be seen at :

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Experiments at Beautification of Roadside Food Kiosks in Sector 5 and New Town

For a long time, we have been taking several strategies to deal with food kiosks on pavements on the roads of Sector 5 Salt Lake and New Town Rajarhat. IT offices in both the towns are many and most food shops have grown over the years which are extensively used by IT employees. A rough estimate indicates that close to 2 lakh IT employees commute to the two towns daily and economic food options at lunchtime make the street food economy a thriving enterprise.

So far our strategies have been, and indeed continues to be, as follows:

1. Relocation: Very successfully done in New Town near Unitech SEZ. A one-acre plot was developed adjacent (and this is the key, it has to be close to the present location) to the food shacks. The vendors were consulted from the inception. New stalls, with common dining areas, were distributed to existing owners through a transparent lottery (positioning is important, very much so), and the whole area is managed by NKDA nad a Committee. A showpiece. Took 3 years to operationalise.

2. Food Park: Being planned in Sector 5 with a multilevel car park with ground floor and first floor for relocated food kiosks

I have also been appealing to Corporate Houses to "adopt" food kiosks near their front pavements to look better, in the temporary time frame, and to NGOs to encourage the stalls to adopt fire safety and hygiene norms. However, to show them how this can be done, I've requested NDITA, NKDA and Webel each to take up 2-3 food kiosks on pavements and upgrade the looks.

Here are three examples (two are already in place: contact me on WhatsApp (+91 70031 50189) if you want to see) including one at the design stage:

At New Town: Graphics are being changed

At Sector 5 Salt Lake, near Techno India: Graphics display public interest messages

Design by Webel for Sector 5 Webel Gate Road
We are waiting for the Webel designs to be implemented as well and then refine the experiences and then invite Corporates to consider adopting. All till the permanent relocations happen.
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Thursday, September 7, 2017

Bankers' Meeting for Hidco Allottees

I held a meeting today with many banks including SBI, PNB, HDFC, Axis, ICICI, Union Bank etc to solve a problem flagged by many allottees of the  75 plots in Action Area 2 that were given through lottery. The problem was that banks usually give home loans against registered deeds but here the deed can't be given unless the payment is done : so what happens in the interim period? While the Hidco scheme allows for installment payments, there is a discount of 4% for 'down payment' i.e. full payment in one installment.

It was finally agreed that banks would give loan on the basis of the allotment letter and Hidco would give, on request, a 'comfort letter' confirming the identity of the allottee and other conditions.

This will hopefully solve the problems of 'land loan' rather than 'home loans'.
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Saturday, September 2, 2017

Station Free Bike Sharing : Pre Bid

Bike sharing without stations: Meeting at NKDA
We from NKDA had published a notice inviting expression of interest for introducing a bicycle sharing scheme by interested companies at no cost to NKDA. The idea is to try and do something as in many Asian cities where using ITeS/GPS technology, people can rent bicycles at a very very small cost (all Apps Driven) and park it anywhere. An Indian Firm with Singapore collaboration ( see ) and an Indian Firm who have been trying in Bangalore attended the pre bid meeting. A team from IIT Kharagpur was also there. There were two concerns expressed by the possible investors (1) Security of bicycles parked in the open have to be looked into (2) No parking fees are levied by ULBs the world over and may be waived as there is no cost to the government but citizens get a green transport option at a nominal cost.

We agreed to look into the suggestions.

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For Clippings, please go to

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

TCS Group doing "Go Green" in Eco Park

At Eco Park: 29 Aug 2017
The GE Group of TCS New Town today had a march, street play, procession and banner display to create awareness on environment at Eco Park. They started at Gate 1 and after a round of the park staged songs and street play near station of toy train near Gate 2.
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Ei Samay dt 29 August 2017

Millennium Post dt 29 Aug 2017

Monday, August 28, 2017

Fintech Hub

Hidco Board decided in its meeting last Friday to open part of Finance Hub in New Town as Fintech Hub. FinTech or financial technology has emerged as a relatively new industry in India.[1] FinTech is an industry comprising companies that use technology to offer financial services. These companies operate in insurance, asset management and payment etc. The Financial Hub in New Town has 21 financial institutions participating. The SBI Management Institute is expected to be inaugurated in September 2017
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Khabar 365 dt 28 Aug 2017

Millennium Post dt 28 August 2017 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Public Bicycle Sharing Scheme : Notice Inviting Expression of Interest Invited

New Town is a model green city in the making. After a study by IIT Kharagpur, many kilometres of grade-separated exclusive bicycle tracks have been built in Action Area 1 (from East Enclave/ Box Bridge to Eastern Highs/ Bus Terminus) and Eco Park (from Gate 1 to 4).

Now New Town is trying for a public bike sharing scheme (or rent-a-bicycle) to be done by any private partner to be qualified through a transparent process. Yesterday's Board Meeting of Hidco also endorsed the idea. Even before, a notice inviting Expression of Interest from interested private players was published at on NKDA's website.

We would prefer cycles with a dockless model that are GPS enabled. NKDA will only charge a minor parking fee for using any designated car parking lots.

New Town and Nabadiganta have been encouraging cycling for covering short distances. Various events in New Town and Sector 5 have been held in association with cycle federation of India and others - the latest being Corporate Cycling Competition at Sector 5.  Battery operated golf carts and e-scooters/three-wheelers are also encouraged. Electric buses are also being procured.
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Ei Samay dt 27 August 2017

Millennium Post dt 27 August 207

Times of India dt 27 August 2017

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Roller Skating in Clock Tower

The Clock Tower Plaza is becoming one of the most preferred destinations for roller skating in Kolkata,
            Roller skating needs a smooth large surface. The Kota stones around the Clock Tower of New Town provide an ideal zone for roller skating practice and competitions.

The Tower Plaza was created as a public space for people to take a break from shopping expeditions in Central, Axis Mall, Jagdish Store etc. Benches facing the tower are placed throughout the boundary fence, much like the chowrasta / mall in Darjeeling. However, the area has been a favourite of roller skaters for practice and competition - one can go round and round in circles.
When the arena was closed for few weeks some time ago, I received many representations and some even came up to my office in groups to allow school kids to practice for their tournaments.
Recently, NKDA has allowed limited access @Rs 30 per entry for half a day for roller skating practice.

The Golf Driving Range in Eco Park is already proving to be  a good draw. Now the Clock Tower also promises to be a good practice zone for roller skating enthusiasts. New Town also has facilities for cricket (stadium at AA2), football (stadium at AA1), Swimming/dart/billiards/snooker/tennis/basketball/gym (at New Town Business Club). More are on the way.
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Times of India dt 26 Aug 2017

Millennium Post dt 26 Aug 2017

Friday, August 25, 2017

Trade Certificate and Property Tax in Sector 5 (NDITA)


The Certificate of Enlistment is issued subject to the provisions of Section 118 of The West Bengal Municipal Act, 1993.

Anybody involved or planning to get involved in any profession, trade or calling within the area of Nabadiganta Industrial Township Authority (NDITA) must obtain a Certificate of Enlistment or get the same renewed annually.

With an objective to provide better service, the License Department of the NDITA  has been fully computerised and the services are available online. The application forms for Certificate of Enlistment (new/ renewal) are available in the official website of Nabadiganta Industrial Township Authority ( Till now (24-08-2017), around 560 Enlistment Certificates have been issued by this Authority for the current year i.e 2017-18.

Presently NDITA is following the guidelines issued by Dept. Of Urban Development and Municipal Affairs vide there Memo. No. 496 dt 25-07-2017 for Issuance and Renewal of Certificate of Enlistment and are issued/renewed with submission of minimum documents such as ID proof and lease deed/legal occupancy/rent agreement/rent receipt.. Though as per the Right to Public Services Act, 2013, 25 days is allowed for issuance of CE, NDITA disposes CE cases within 7 working days, in some cases CE were issued in 3 working days also.

Apart from issuance of Certificate of Enlistment, NDITA has taken initiative for proper assessment and collection of Property Tax dues for the Assesses of NDITA. The process of Property Tax assessment is also fully computerised and the services are available online. The services include online payment through payment gateway, printing of bill & printing of payment receipt.  The property tax Collection of NDITA for Q1 of FY-2017-18 has increased seven time in comparison to collection for Q1 of FY-2016-17. (FY-2016-17(Q1) Rs.2.70 Crore and FY-2017-18(Q1) Rs.14.76 Crore)
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Clippings from Salt Lake Telegraph dt 25 Aug 2017:

Thursday, August 24, 2017


Animation and Visual Effects (VFX) industry bears exceptional promise of growth, supported by the latest technological advancements. It is steadily gaining acceptance, with the Indian talents poised to rub shoulders with their global counterparts. The Government of West Bengal in the IT & Electronics Department plans to set up an Animation Academy, which will train more that 300+ animation professionals annually. An 8,500 sq ft campus in Sector V Salt Lake has been earmarked by Webel. A notice inviting expression of interest has been published recently inviting applications from experienced partners.
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Dainik Statesman dt 23 Aug 2017

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Seniors' Mela

For the first time, a pre-puja mela will be organised by Swapna Bhor in association with Dignity Foundation. Scheduled to be held on the first weekend of September. Because of the rainy season, this will be held indoors, on the first floor banquet halls. The members of Swapna Bhor and Dignity Foundation are quite enthusiastic and are busy organising and creating awareness. About 35-40 stalls will be there including one by Cafe Ekante, Mother's Wax Museum etc.

Meanwhile, I had a review yesterday of the Snehochhaya being constructed now at a site just opposite to Swapna Bhor. Hidco Engineers, Consultant Architects (M/s Pace Consultants), Mackintosh Burn Ltd, Hitachi AC engineers and others were present. We are trying to make a demonstration unit before the Pujas whereafter we will launch the scheme. Already many inquiries are being received and we hope to be able to give possession by next year. Meanwhile we have published a notice inviting Expression of Interest from service providers (see ) , the last date being 31 August 2017.
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Aajkal dt 20 August 2017

Khabar 365 dt 20 Aug 2017

Anandabazar dt 20 August 2017

Millennium Post dt 20 Aug 2017

Bartaman dt 20 Aug 2017