Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Financial Hub in New Town, Kolkata:10th March Event

Here is the invitation card:
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Just reached Delhi. There is a meeting in North Block tomorrow. Before leaving Kolkata, had a detailed meeting with Transport Department Officials to discuss ways in which bus services to New Town could improve. I even broached the topic of continuous circular route within New Town for which Hidco may get into a collaboration with WBSTC. Let's see if Mr Asish Thakoor, MD WBSTC can come up with a workable proposal.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Solar City Status for New Town

New Town Rajarhat has just been earmarked as a Solar City by the Govt of India. We got the approval from the Ministry of Non-Conventional and Renewable Energy recently. Now project reports are to be framed through pre-qualified Consultants.
Mr Sudhir Krishna, Secretary, Ministry of UD, Govt of India visited New Town last Sunday. I gave a two-hour presentation to him: there was a good exchange of views. After that, we took Mr Kumar and Mr S.K Lohia, OSD & JS MoUD GoI to Rabi Rashmi, the Solar Housing Complex of WBREDA. Mr Sushobhan Bhattacharya, Director WBREDA and all of us appear in the photograph below:
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Today was the day of 24 hour strike. Attendance in Hidco was 90%+. Also in UD it was quite high. Many officers stayed in UD bungalow in Salt Lake. Many arrived very early in the morning: I met two engineers walking in the Central Park who'd come very early for office. We did good work on budget preparation and I even went to Writers' and had discussions with CM, FM, MIC UD, CS and HS (separately) on various issues.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Thai Consulate in New Town

Yesterday, Thailand's Consul met me at Hidco and enquired about the possibility of setting up a consulate in New Town. I explained the protocol and the government's broad policy. The discussions were held in a cordial atmosphere. Let's see how it goes.
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I also attended Credai's inauguration ceremony where Shri Partha Chatterjee was the Chief Guest. I talked briefly about our planning efforts in Raghunathpur, Prulia. Here is a link to today's Pratidin:
(see last portion of third article)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Apex Training Institute of SBI in Rajarhat New Town ?

Yesterday, Ms Arundhati Bhattacharya, DMD SBI came in from Mumbai and met Finance Minister Shri Amit Mitra along with Mr Suriender Kumar, CGM, SBI, Bengal Circle. I was also present. SBI wishes to set up an Apex Training Institute with state-of-the-art facilities, in the lines of their Gurgaon and Hyderabad Institutes in Kolkata. I have indicated a possible location in New Town, Rajarhat, close to - in fact just across the road of - the Financial Hub.

I think it will be a  good thing to happen, when it happens.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Beleghata, Kestopur and Tolly's Nullah revival

We had a meeting by Irrigation Minister today. Mr Sadhan Pandey Minister was also there. It was about ways to harness Govt of India funds for NGRBA. We discussed the procedures. We decided that Irrigation Department would be the Proect Implementing Agency.

Here is a link:

And something from Anandabazar

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Rule of Law

Here is a report that appeared in today's Pratidin; this was based on a converstaion with Sutirtha Chakraborty yesterday afternoon:

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Update on Projects in New Town

Yesterday, I went on a brief inspection with few enginners of NKDA to review some projects of New Town. A brief update:
1. Bus stop: Work in progress on MAR, near 1st intersection. After seeing how it turns out, more will be built.
2. Public Pay-and-Use Toilet: Work in progress in two locations (AA-I and AA-III). Incidentally, in Board Meeting of NKDA, it was decided to construct a second story where restaurant or cafe can be built - as in front of Priya Cinema
3. Park in AA-ID: Boundary wall complete, sentry box complete, land levelling works going on
4. International Swimming Pool in BB Block, AA-I: Boundary wall complete, layout design details being formulated
5. Large Park in AA-I: I saw the site; I'll ask Principal Consultant to make an environment-friendly lay out.

Other on going works:

(a) Rabindra Tirtha Complex: Racing Against Time
(b) Eco Park: Tropical Forest started, Boundary Wall started, Master Plan just received from Ar Pradip Sachadeva of Delhi
(c) Decorative lights: further stretches being covered
(d) New Curb Stones: Work ongoing in the stretch between VIP Road and City Centre
(e) Vocational Training Centre: Advanced stage
(f) Water from Hoogly: Field inspection made; DPR being rectified
(g) Sewerage and water lines: Works on in AA-II & III
(h) Internal Roads: Works on in AA-II
(i) East West MAR in AA-III: Nearing completion
(j) EWS Housing in AA-I near WTP: Nearing completion (I made a field inspection last week)
(k) Weigh Bridge in AA-II : Site identified in AA-ID. There will be a community market too. Road from the weigh-bridge to Mollar Bheri across existing bridge over Keshtopur canal will be built by NKDA

System improvement:
(i) Biometric Attendance: After HIDCO, NKDA is proceeding forward.
(ii) Wi Fi LAN: Hidco Bhavan will be covered by Wi Fi hot spots. Scheme drawn up
(iii) Grievance Telephone: I told CEO NKDA (Gopal Ghosh) to set out a toll-free number for citizen complaints / queries

(More will follow- got to go now)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

New Conference Room and Crisil Meet

We had a meeting with Crisil Infrastructure Advisory today. KMDA, KMC, KMWSA, SPMG and others were there. Field visits will take place to see if Waste Water treatment can be done on a PPP basis for few pilot schemes.
The meeting took place in UD Department. The new conference room was made ready today and we used it for the first time today.
Here is the photo:
I thank Manas Chakraborty EE UD and his team for making a decent conference room on time.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Here is a short report that appeared in today's Pratidin:

Monday, February 13, 2012

New Chairman for KMDA

We reconstituted a new board of KMDA with Shri Firhad Hakim, Minister, as Chairman. Earlier, CM was the Chairperson.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Tajpur Beach Festival and Alampur Prawn Outlet

I went to Tajpur and Digha yesterday. Partha R Das, Architect, also went with me. We went to Tajpur Carnival site (good to see that the Digha Beach Festival tradition was being carried along: we'll do it together next year), Digha beaches and took a long walk in old and new Digha. Saikatabas is also quite spruced up now. We took more decisions in the 5pm meeting where the new DM (Pervez) was there too.
The Tajpur Beach Carnival has started, I found. Several tourists were enjoying themselves on the beach. Here is a photo that I took on my Sony camera there:

I talked to Raja Sekhar, Conservator of Forest from Tajpur for a deer park in Digha and DSDA office space at Tajpur. Coming out of Tajpur, I was very happy to see that the SFDC Alampur office was all dressed in theme colour blue-and-yellow for a retail outlet. I take a bit of pride in this as it was I who proposed when I was also holding charge of Fisheries Department that such a prime location on Digha-Kolkata highway can be used to sell ice-packed Digha prawns with suitable packaging so that tourists can gift "Digha Prawn" to their friends and family in Kolkata (as we gift Darjeeling Tea when we come down from the hills).
I'll buy one surely as soon as it opens !

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bay Cafe at Digha

Remember the round-shaped two-storied structure that greeted you once you reached Digha? Well, it is up for "licence":

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Revival of Canals will be considered by NGRBA

On way to Kolkata. Typing this on iPad inside Spicejet flight. Flight yet to take off. SteeringCommittee meeting was very short, and so I drove to the airport T1 and purchased ticket with credit card and took the first available flight and that is this one.. Had KFC meal. This was the shortest meeting I've attended in Delhi. Pranab Mukherji was in Chair, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, CM Uttaranchal and others were there - but since election process was on, UP was absent. The only outcome worthy of note was that they agreed to look at revival of lakes under NGRBA which was earlier rejected by GoI formally. Beliaghata, Tolly's Nollah and Krishnapur Canal would be proposed in the first phase.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Urbanisation of Poverty ?

At the NDC meet, we were suggested that while the rural poverty in India has decreased over the years, the extent of urban poverty had increased. Some data were also given.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

NDC and NGRBA meetings in Delhi

I am going to Delhi today to attend the meeting of National Development Council at 10 am tomorrow. I will have to attend another meeting, the steering committee on National Ganga River Basin Authority. MIC UD Mr Firhad Hakim will also attend these.
* * *
Here is a report appearing in today's Times of India:

Friday, February 3, 2012

Financial Hub - Meeting with Chairman NABARD

Yesterday and the day before, I have been discussing intensely on the best way forward for Financial Hub in New Town. I discussed at depth with our new Creative Consultant (Lintas) and our JV Advisor (BUIDL). Yesterday morning, I had a detailed discussion with Dr Prakash Bakshi, Chairman NABARD at the office chamber of Chief Secretary at Writers' Buildings.
Today is the date of pre-bid discussion for Architect Firms for the proposed Nazrul Academy. I will brief them.
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Here is a photo that appeared in today's Pratidin:

Thursday, February 2, 2012

eFiling and eTracking system

The Urban Development Department has three branches (Metropolitan Development, Town and Country Planning and Urban Land Ceiling). There are 10 Development Authorities (including KMDA and Hidco) and 6 Planning Authorities. There will be a review meeting today at 2pm. Thereafter, the eFile-Track system will be inaugurated. We have published few advertisements. The e-System will help us making sense of the n-number of files/letters among 200 odd staff/officers. It will help produce management information and quickly monitor progress.
We have set up a LAN in Nagarayan, trained our staff and made a trial run for the last one month or so. I think it is a very useful tool for improving governance. It is not spectacular, but fits well with present Secretariat Practice. There is no re-engineering, no lofty paper-less-office ideals - but simply a practical way of speeding up the administrative machinery as it exists.
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12th February 2012

Here is one other clipping from the Telegraph that appeared later: