Tuesday, October 16, 2012

US Architect Team Visits New Town

Today evening, a US delegation visited New Town. This was facilitated by the US Commercial Service at the US Consulate in Kolkata. It was a 38 member delegation of the American Institute of Architects and the US Department of Commerce. We had the meeting at Rabindra Tirtha where we' also invited a few investors. I gave a presentation after a Baul performance by Nanda Das Baul.. Dulal Mukherjee, Architect & Director Hidco spoke a few words. Here is a picture of the dais:
Present on dais at right: Bill Turner, Micky Jacob, Francis Mudrock Pitts, Janice A Corbett and Richard R Craig.
Time was short. But the delegation visited and appreciated the two exhibitions in Rabindra Tirtha. Tea was served on the open area cafetaria. The illuminated view was splendid.
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Here is a clipping from today's Times of India supplement:
And here is a link to ToI:


  1. On the second day , was there any presentation for the US Team?

  2. On something else.....but important...
    NKDA website lists a large number of housing societies those applied for OC or POC since long (some of them close to 2 years) but pending for some reason or other.
    Without OC, the flat owners will not register the properties which means deferment of a large sum of registration and stamp-duty revenue (no interest earned) for the cash-starved government. Can KNDA do proactive follow-up asking for ATR (action taken report) from builders on it observations made against their OC/POC application and issue notices to builders having large number of residents already staying without OC/POC? God forbid for an untoward incident, there would be reality-show on media with private and public authorities disowning the responsibility and pointing at each other– but a collaborative prevention is desired which NKDA can initiate and enforce.
    It will also be useful if the website displays the dates (last) when communication regarding pending requirements of OC/POC was last sent to the builder.
    Wishing you, family and all visitors to your website a safe Durga Puja full of fun and togetherness,
    With Regards,

    1. I completely agree with Avick. Avick has actually made both the points: blame game in case of untoward incident as well as the revenue loss by the govt ( registration / mutation charges). These are the scenarios where we need to have agile administration.

      Today I came to Kolkata for Pujo and traveled all along MAR while coming from Airport. One sad observation. While the median landscaping is really nice all along AA-1 from Finance Hub to Kestopur Canal but the stretch from Chinar Park to Finance hub, landscaping is in a really shabby state full of "agachas" and with signs of complete non-maintenance. We should have a consistency all across New Town and maintaining the landscape. All also pervasive was the bamboo fence which is yet to be replaced by iron fence.

    2. Or no fence at all..... Can't we do away with these skeleton fences? I agree when a plant is a sapling it must be guarded to prevent being eaten up by the cattle. But once the plant grows and the stretch becomes lot greener I don't think there is any need to fencing.....Rather a dense plantation is needed throughout the stretch to prevent jay-walkers. They are more dangerous than the cattles. And I don't know why the government doesn't impose fines on them for jaywalking and spitting betel-juice.
      Also median-beautification needs to be carried out keeping in lines with New Saltlake-Medians. Median Blocks in new-town are very old and out of shape. But yeah, that is not an emergency. So can be taken up later.
      And Blue-White pavement blocks infront of a Sankalpa for a little stretch is an eyesore with beautiful white-yellow-saffron combination tiles. That particular strecth gives jitters and I avoid to look that side. Blue-White uniformity is okay, but please, it doesn't fit everywhere.

    3. (1) Hundreds of cows in New Town necessarily demands fences. I have seen how even in the midst of fast traffic, cows munch away delicate plants through gaps in fences or above these.
      (2) Chinar Park to City Centre II is technically outside New Town and it was initially thought that someone else will take care of it after Hidco did the capital works. But yes, I agree that "someone" needs to do it.
      (3) A colour combination may or may not appeal to someone but I wonder if it is proper to thrust one's tastes on everybody else. Experiments must go on, I'd think.

    4. Yes.... but if "someone" is not doing that...I think its better that formally HIDCO takes care of Chinar Park to City Centre 2. Even if you leave aside that stretch, but from City Centre 2 to Finance Hub, medians need immediate care Sir.

  3. Saw the newspaper advertisement by Hidco on Senior Citizens park in AA1. Good that we are starting in that front.

  4. Absolutely my personal opinion, no offence intended -

    Firstly, i feel what we call as median beautification, is something which never happened in Kolkata and not happening anyways. Planting arbitrary trees of mixed types as per local expertise and just green grass is not something which we should be proud of. We dont need to go far, but just outside the Bangalore airport is what is known as futuristic landscaping and island beautification done with expert assistance showcasing green aesthetics. Bamboo fencing is a great idea but lining the roads of a metro city which we are portraying as a futuristic model city might seem out of place.

    I agree with Mr Sen on this statement "wonder if it is proper to thrust one's tastes on everybody else", but again feel dubious..was the blue and white combination decided by a public poll or after a lot of experimentation? i might have missed participating in it :-)

    1. Hi Suman,

      I partly agree with you. Bangalore airport, particularly the 6 km stretch before the airport approach road converges with the NH is really wonderfully decorated. No Doubt.

      But if median beautification is not happening in Kolkata , that does not mean we should not do it in New Town. Fencing is important as there are hundreds of cows. But lets do it with something better than bamboo and lets have a uniformity all across New Town as far as the median beautification is concerned.

      Your second point is really classic.
      " was the blue and white combination decided by a public poll or after a lot of experimentation? i might have missed participating in it :-)"

    2. Of course Abhishek, we should definitely do it, but for that we need expert assistance and not local inputs - thats what i meant. I know thats expensive and guided by budget constraints, so i doubt how much the govt is willing to shell out in this case, as these are nice-to-have features and we already lack loads of basic infra pending.

    3. On this matter, I agree with you Suman.
      However as far as I remember, HIDCO had asked for tenders from architects specialized in doing landscaping and then went ahead and did it. It was not designed by junior HIDCO officials.

      About basic infra ( at least road and water), I agree. I was really shocked to see the lack of road development in New Town Area this time I visited Kolkata and particularly for the Bhojerhat road where PWD did not even start the work even after committed financial assistance from HIDCO. Also I am not sure whether PHE has started any work at all for bringing purified drinking water from Ganga, apart from doing the tendering.