Thursday, July 5, 2012

Seminar scheduled with Afghanisthan officials

Yesterday a team from JICA's (Japan International Co-operation Agency) Kabul unit met me. They want us to hold a seminar followed by a site visit of New Town, Kolkata in August for a small group of urban planners from Kabul. They are interested in knowing about urban governance in general and new city creation in particular. I said we'd be happy to help. A formal request is expected soon.
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Arnab Roy and I met Mr John Nutt and Mr Amit Khandelwal of UK Govt along with the British Deputy High Commissioner Mr Sanjay Wadvani yesterday evening. We talked about the scoping study on urban regeneration now being undertaken by the two member  UK Team ( Stephen and Ruchi, who were also present along with Rishi)  and discussed the next steps forward.
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Today's Sakalbela carries this story:

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SE Housing NTP demonstrated sample landscaping works on road number 4444 coming off the 6th Rotary. I liked all the four demonstration samples and discussed a few modifications. I've asked them to do the work quickly in the East-West and North South Major Arterial Roads that they were constructing. Here is a pic from my camera:

Landscaping Sample in Road 4444 of New Town


  1. Thumbs Up . :-)
    Landscaping looks nice. Scaling this model for the E-W and N-S MARs will make it fantastic.

    JICA and UK govt's step suggests that your work in New Town is getting international acceptance !!! Kudos.

  2. Sir, why don't you convince Arnab Roy to be on twitter/fb/blogspot and we can directly communicate with him, just like you.

    1. And our new Tourism secretary... We really need to know the current status of game changing projects like "Kolkata Eye" and "Marina"

  3. certain suggestions for certain routes,taking a cue from Gujarat. I am in Gujarat since 1994 and i hv seen how the urban development baby here grew into an enviable adult of the day.I would give you a link blog soon where I will highlight why Gujarat is where it stands now.Two key factor 1. Govt e-governance has been a great success and it includes e-tendering ( in some instances only financial bid is through digital signature upload).Here govt-private initiate has created an electronic database company that manages all guj govt's electronic initiatives. It saves time. It keeps confidentiality of price bid in tact and become a location-independent bidding effort.One in USA can also bid if he satisfies the eligibility criteria.
    2.Here people density may be much less compared to our Kol and free space may be many times more,and even if we dont count the cash-rich local and NRG entrepreneurs whose 30-40% chunk would be Marwaris-Sidhis in SME segment and 20-25% in large segment,the Gujarat government has had laid down a very strong road infrastructure policy. And during N.Modi's regime the same has been happening with unbelievable speed.AMC(Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation) and AUDA( A'bad Urban Development Authority- for the suburbs),then the various express ways A'bad-Vadodara, A'bad-Rajkot look like God-sent - landscaping with flowering plants and road markers et cetra.I would request a net visit or sending a team to assess.Gujarat is now going to host new Japanese township, new Chinese Township -all these entrepreneurs coming for the fact of infrastructure.Watch Sanand which first housed Nano, now the the area is the world's automobile hub just in 4 years since Nano shifted to Gujarat in 2008.Now Maruti, GM, Hero Honda and a few other giants business infrastructure is being laid. Nano as a product is a failure in Gujarat, but Modi with passion and determination created this auto hub.
    3.Another factor which has been meticulously carried in Gujarat in the last 10 years, is coastal SEZ,Govt ports and Adani-Group Ports.These ports for cargo handling became a clinching factor for drawing a few overseas investment
    4.In Bengal, projects take such a long time to complete,here an average flyover gets completed in 1 to 1 and 1/2 years time.
    5.Gujarat is not without corruption, here corruption is huge, but corruption and work goes together in all dept but with the greater introduction of technology in depts, the impact is slowly getting reduced.
    6. Come Monsoon,there would be rain-dance and there would be accidents, road cave-in at stray places, water logging in certain suburb areas.These glitches remain.Pot-holes too would come up in some AMC streets.But those are far less to come to street or pour disgust over net.
    7. Coming back to Green-initiative of Gujarat: When we reached Gujarat in 1994 we knew we are in a state where there would be dry streets, dry horizons and deserts in the backyards. Oh God! It now looks greener than our Sashya Shyamala Bangla. Unless one visit, one would find hard to believe.Here comes landscaping the routes with the divider line in bridges/fly-over and both side of the road in case of state and national highways flush with green inhabitants. Dividers are with various asthetic design to catch your eyes.I came to know that Corporation has water tanks that sprinkle water to these plants daily to make them alive.

    8.Finally,Gujaratis are rough and tuff people and they know how to do business.Bengal's most of the celebrated tear-jerker movies would have been put to selves to gather dust, if Bengali Nayaks instead of knocking corporate doors, could start their own small businesses whereever it be - to be a trader first then an industrialist. That's how Gujjus came up over generations.So, Bengal need a mind-set change from Job seeker to Job-Giver.Or how to carry on multiple jobs together to survive rather comfortably.

    Oh so long.

  4. I appreciate the long blog comment. Few responses:
    (1) The West Bengal Financial Rules have been amended recently making it mandatory to go for e-tendering for all works / projects above Rs 50 lakhs. In many departments (including UD), it is already in vogue. E-governance is also in day to day intense use.
    (2)Do our flyovers take longer to built? I don't really think so. However, shifting of 100-year old 6 ft British sewers etc do pose additional problems
    (3) I have the deepest regard for all Indians including people of Gujarat, but I would severely contest that Bengal is not growing too.

  5. In GDP terms, Bengal is also growing. But to raise the per capita income we need huge amount of organized sector employment. This will increase prosperity in the state and revenue collection of the state govt. It is really bad to see thousands and thousands of youth moving out of Bengal every year in search of jobs. I am in bangalore and you will be see the number of Bengali youths working in the software industry here. We are yet to make any plan of visiting Silicon Valley ( California Bay Area) and get the R & D companies to set up centres in the state in the way they have done in Bangalore, Madras and Hyderabad.

  6. About our flyovers taking longer time, I would like to highlight the Park Circus -Parama island flyover project.

    No decision at all has been taken / published till now on what will happen from where the No. 4 bridge at Park Circus starts (From Science City end). This project will require pillars on the either side of the railway line which is already encroached by settlers.

    Problem is that the administration needs to take sincere steps to complete these projects through some critical decision-making.
    The attitude for years in West Bengal has been, those who are poor, let them remain poor, in the name of pro-poor policy.

    Also,Sir, you can take a look at the following video.

    Even after 65 years of independence, we are yet to formulate a simple mechanism of coordination of officers between the central and the state govts. Isnt it amazing? !!!!