Friday, February 24, 2017

Art in Street Light Poles

In New Town, we lay a great deal of emphasis on Public Art, Smart Signage and Green & Clean Streets. We have installed original installations on traffic islands, International Signages at crossings, Eco Park and Bus Stands and spectacularly innovative swaying light stalk bunches. We don't allow unplanned hoardings on the Biswa Bangla Sarani - only a few Hidco owned LCD displays. Our mechanical sweeping machines are monitored through GPS while teams of workers and supervisors go around removing illegally pasted posters on public spaces. We are laying stress on renewable energy and even using water bodies to mount solar panels. We are moving to LED street lights to cut down on green house emissions and energy costs.

We are experimenting with street light architecture too. The Alexander Poles of Eco Park (the ones with a U-turned pole holding a heritage gas-lamp-like hood) are already iconic and have been pictured in more facebook photos than I can count. There are sunflower-yellow coloured street light poles in road from Gate 1 of Eco Park as well as on a pathway inside. High mast lights in Eco Park are artistically designed. Reflective garden lights that look like UFOs are installed in Swapnna Bhor to add visual energy into the lonely lives of Senior Citizens. The perforated light emitting totem in Gate 6 of Eco Park and the Totem in Nazrul Tirtha front are attractive installations on their own. Even light emitting squarish benches along the lakeside of Eco Park have drawn attraction.

And now we are installing floral light poles on newly-built cycle tracks in Action Area 1A, opposite to Nazrul Tirtha. It is in tune with the blue-and-white theme of Kolkata but break the monotony of a lonely street pole. Here are two photos i took yesterday soon after installation started:

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Salt Lake Telegraph dt 24 Feb 2017

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Cable free sky

Meeting Cable Operators and Police / NKDA/ NTTIDCO at NKDA today

After meeting cable operators of Sector 5 some days ago (see my earlier post here ), I met those of New Town today morning. In New Town, of course, the subsidiary of Hidco M/s NTTIDCO has been laying underground ducts for years and so New Town's sky is largely free of hanging wires. However, to cut corners and save money, some small cable operators especially near the edges of the city, have been providing signals illegally by stringing the cables on street light poles. But the small operators are actually locating the equipment from outside New Town limits. So we conducted a survey by deputing NKDA staff to residences near AA1A where a cable went in from the sky. The one who answered the door would be asked to co-operate with NKDA by subscribing only to those who got their cables through the official ducts. We also got the contact details of the cable operators through the survey. Today we called them over in presence of the Inspector-in-Charge of New Town PS.

Most operators said that they could not stay afloat in business if even one operator does not use the official duct. That is because one time fee and recurring fees levied by NTTIDCO are quite large and the small margins would be wiped out if there is a discrepancy in fees payable. I insisted that all overhead cables must be removed and put inside underground ducts latest within March. And to ensure that, a meeting will be held at the New Town Police Station at 12 noon on Sunday. Any help, including agreeing to easy installments or any other help would be extended by NKDA .
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Millennium Post dt 23 Feb 2017

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

H.E. High Commissioner of Canada to New Town

Meeting with Canadian Chamber of Commerce
at Westin Hotel, New Town Kolkata
His Excellency Mr Nadir Patel, High Commissioner of Canada to India, visited New Town Kolkata today morning and met officers of Hidco and NKDA along with members of the Indo-Canadian Chamber of Commerce this morning. I mentioned that New Town was an approved Smart City and that it has applied for Green City Certification from IGBC and that it would be launching a study by IIT Kharagpore on how to increase its Happiness Index by adopting best global practices. The Canadian Companies made presentations and we identified renewable energy and solid waste management as possible areas of future co-operation. The High Commissioner mentioned that Canada had three cities which were ranked globally as among the top intelligent cities.
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Millennium Post dt 22 Feb 2017

ToI dt 22 Feb 2017

Millennium Post dt 22 Feb 2017

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Recycling Water

IGBC had indicated (see post at ) that New Town must reduce water use. To that end, we decided in a meeting held with PHE engineers today morning to quantify the amount of water available after treatment from the Sewage Treatment Plants in Action Area IIB and IIC along with the BOD content. As per environmental norms, the BOD must be less than 30 mg/L at the output, but engineers said they actually reduce to even lower levels, often as low as 10-15 mg/L. Forest Department officers were advised to send their tankers that water roadside plants to the STPs and thus reduce use of costly potable water. In Nabadiganta too, I proposed to JUSCO - the PPP company that is responsible for water supply and sewage treatment for Sector 5 - to make available the output water for watering trees in the new ring road and elsewhere. In their letter dated 20.2.2017 that I received today, JUSCO has said that they have finalised the mechanism for loading tankers with treated waste water which, to quote them "is not fit for consumption of humans and livestocks and shall strictly be used for watering gardens or cleaning roads only". I advised the engineers at NDITA to tie up with JUSCO and the agency that waters the roadside greens.

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(Above and Below): Times of India
dt 21 Feb 2017

Monday, February 20, 2017

Sushi at Eco Park soon !

The Japanese Forest in Eco Park is almost ready for opening. All senior officers of Hidco inspected the site recently. We have also selected a Japanese-cuisine knowing expert group that will serve Japanese food and snacks from the restaurant that is already there. The group already runs a Japanese restaurant in South Kolkata. Some of the dishes that is likely to be served are the famous Sushi, Tampura, Teriyaki Chicken, Yakitori etc.

Plan of Japanese Restaurant in Japanese
Forest in Eco Park

A Japanese Musician at Japanese Forest, Eco Park
(The Restaurant can be seen at the right hand background)

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(Top and bottom) : Times of India dt 20 Feb 2017

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Building Permission in parts of Bhangore to take prior NKDA permission

Planning Area Extended (Shaded Yellow) (see table below)

To control unplanned urban growth, the region surrounding New Town is gradually being subjected to the New Town Building Rules. The BRADA (Bhangore Rajarhat Area Development Authority) was abolished in 2012 and its area in North 24-Paraganas was subjected to the provisions of New Town Building Rules. A land use master plan (LUDCP or Land Use Development and Control Plan) has also been made in this area. In these areas, except for very small buildings, all others must get an NOC from NKDA which scrutinises the building plans as per permissible FAR, height related to road width, covered area of the plot, land character and title etc.
Now recently, the State Government vide its notification number 475 dt 15.2.2017, brought the following mouzas under the planning area of Hidco and will thus be subjected to the Building Rules of NKDA as in erstwhile BRADA area:

A quick survey of this area has just been made by officers of NKDA and HIDCO who went around this zone for a rapid assessment of urbanisation trends. There were six teams from Hidco and NKDA who did the rapid assessment survey. A conference will be held with district, block, Zilla Parishad and Panchayat officers on 23rd February at Hidco Conference Hall to explain the procedures that now have to be adopted. A Master Land Use Register will also be prepared shortly.

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Millennium Post dt 19 Feb 2017

Millennium Post dt 19 Feb 2017

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Meeting with Public Sector Allottees

Meeting with public sector allottees on 17 Feb 2017

I held a meeting with dozens of state / central govt officers yesterday at Hidco to review the progress of projects on plots allotted to them in New Town. There was full participation and senior heads of offices including Chief of Staff Coast Guard, Regional Passport Officer, Secretary Health and Family Welfare Department GoWB, National Security Guard, CPWD, BSNL, EPFO, Central Forensic Laboratory, DRDO, RITES, Netaji Subhas Open University, WB Council of Higher Secondary Examination, DVC, IFFCO, WBSEDCL, WBSETCL, WBPDCL, NTECSC,  Govt of Nagaland, Senior Superintendent of Post Offices, Balurghat Municipality, Murshidabad Zilla Parishad, Mayel Lyang Lepcha Board, Consumer Affairs Department and others reported progress. Except for few who had just completed possession formalities, all others had started doing plan preparation or plan sanction. Many had completed boundary walls. Some had called for tenders while few had given work others. a handful reported that their construction had been proceeding fast and would be completed within the calendar year. I requested all for accelerating their pace and to seek our help if required. For example, we gave a prototype template to one project manager on how to call for proposals for design on a competitive basis.

In the afternoon, I inspected the site of the second campus of Presidency University. A picture on my mobile:

Second Campus of Presidency University at New Town

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Ebela dt 8 Feb 2017

Ei Samay dt 18 Feb 2017

Salt Lake Telegraph dt 17 Feb 2017

Salt Lake Telegraph dt 18 Feb 2017
Ekdin dt
18 Feb 2017