Thursday, January 31, 2013

NKDA's Health Centre

Dr C Sarkar joined today in NKDA and sat at the New Town Health Centre, housed in the temporary container office of New Town. This was a temporary site office used earlier by the engineering wing of Hidco. A Nurse and a para-medic also joined. Here is a picture that I took today morning:
* * *
Here is a clipping from Khabar 365 that appeared few days ago:

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Kolkata Eye

Minister Hakim and I had met Mr Simon Eliot at London during our last visit. Today he came to Kolkata and visited the Eco Park. Here is a photo taken at noon today:
Simon Eliot with Officers of Hidco at Eco Park
Tomorrow Mr Eliot is scheduled to visit Millennium Park on Hoogly Riverfront. We are now considering a site on the Kolkata bank, near the entrance to the Millennium Park. I visited the site recently and requested KMDA to make a survey of the site with dimensions so that engineers can see how to fit in the Kolkata Eye. Here is the site map made by KMDA: I will discuss the matter with Principal Secretary Tourism Mr Vikram Sen tomorrow afternoon:

In the morning, I participated in the "Run for Change: Great Sarobar Run 2013". It was a great experience meeting a lot of interesting personalities. Here is a picture:
Minister Firhad Hakim, Ms Ananya, Me
In the evening, there was cultural event at Rabindra Tirtha. Here is a photo of the classical violin recital:

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Boimela Sarani

The 55m long underpass connecting Science City to Book Fair Ground was inaugurated today afternoon by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. This was named "Boi-Mela Sarani" by her later at the Book Fair inauguration venue. Here is a picture of the Boi Mela Sarani entrance minutes before the inauguration:

The Book Fair inauguration followed. Here is a picture from my camera:
Soon after this, I saw Chandalika at Rabindra Tirtha. Here is a picture:
In the morning, I hoisted the National Flag at Nagarayan (UD Deptt), Hidco and NKDA. In Hidco Bhavan, traditionally, two flags are hoisted. Here is a picture of the flag on the 4th Floor:
* * *
Here is a clipping from yesterday's Telegraph (Salt Lake Page):
* * *
Here is a clipping from Ei Samay few days ago:
 On 22 Jan at Delhi, I met few key officials on Monorail Project Proposal. They were:
Sudhir Krishna, Secretary, MoUD, GoI, Gajendra Haldea, Advisor Planning Coomission &
Prabhat Misra, Joint Secretary, DEA, MoF, GoI

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Second Ticket Counter of Eco Park

As planned earlier, the second ticket counter for Eco Park started functioning from yesterday. This is adjoining the parking plaza at the Northern end. Earlier, people faced difficulty in getting into the park from the central gate after parking in the plaza which was a kilometre away. Now, one can just park and walk in through the new adjoining entrance. Here is a picture I took today afternoon:
The New Ticket Counter in Eco Park
This is near the Parking Plaza
* * *
KMDA has made a subway under the EM By Pass near the Science City / Milan Mela Ground. This will be opened to the public on 26th Jan when the Book Fair starts. I crossed EMByPass today afternoon through the subway. Here is a picture:
Subway near Book Fair Ground across EMBy Pass
The By Pass Traffic was restored today
* * *
Here is a clipping from today's Times of India:

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Chou, Kite and Balloon

This evening at Rabindra Tirtha, a performance of Chou Dance was staged by artists from Purulia. This group has won President's medal too. This was organised through the Information and Cultural Affairs Department. A photo:

Earlier in the day, a kite festival was held at Eco Park. This was done by Benchmak Developers, who organised the event without any cost to Hidco or Govt. Here is a photo of a hot air balloon:
Although the balloon could not fly because of strong breeze (that helped the kites fly though) as it would drift away without control, seeing the balloon being inflated with gas fired guns was quite interesting.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Gangasagar Development Authority

I went to Sagar Island today. I am on my way back, writing this on my laptop in the vehicle using a data card. I achieved three objectives:
(1) Saw the progress of the new GDA Cottage under construction. We decided on a target of 15 February. Here is a picture of the nearly-finished tourist cottage:
  (2) Inspected the beach area for identifying suitable spot for eco-tourism. Here is a photo of red crabs on the beach, the photo taken in zoom mode as they entered the holes as we approached:
(3) Had a meeting with local MLA, administration and engineers of the possibility of including Sagar island into the NGRBA scheme with focus on Solid Waste Management, Sewerage Treatment, Gas fired Crematoria and Beach Development. A concept note is to be prepared first and posed to MoEF. Here too we decided on a target date in February. Here is a photo of the launch we took to cross Muri Ganga river to reach Sagar island:

Today, a proposal to create a new Gangasagar Development Authority is likely to be considered by the State Govt. It is quite a coincidence that I went to Sagar today itself,
* * *
Here is a cutting from yesterday's Telegraph:
And a cutting from Bartaman of day before yesterday:
And finally, a cutting from Khabar 365:

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Towards a continuous walkway on Hoogly Riverfront

KMDA built the Millennium Park in year 2000 (hence its name). Later, it built another Millennium Park. More recently, KMC has developed and has been developing more and more stretches of the Hoogly Riverfront.

There has been a plan for creating a continuous walkway for visitors and tourists. After a survey, it was found that the Floatel Hotel with its entrance plaza would be an obstacle. Yesterday, I took a photo of the Floatel hotel on my Sony h55 camera. Here is it:

To overcome this problem, it was decided to build an elevated walkway in this stretch. A survey was done by KMDA and an engineering plan was drawn up.

Here is a sketch of the pathway:

Today, tenders have been floated by KMDA inviting offers for building this elevated walkway.

Here is the Notice Inviting Tender (NIT) from today's newspapers:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Transaction Advisor for Monorail Begins Work

Yesterday, I had a meeting with CRISIL. They have been chosen, after a bidding process, to be the Transaction Advisor and Consultant to Hidco for doing a Monorail Project in New Town on a PPP basis. UMTC from Delhi was also there. UMTC had earlier done a pre-feasibility study on the possibility of a Monorail System in New Town to cover areas that are beyond 500 metres away from the Metro Rail corridor now under construction. The idea is that the huge passenger load brought in by the Metro Rail should be able to disperse from selected stations in New Town through a Monorail corridor, designed to have 16 kms of length in two parts of 9 km and 7 km. For making the project viable, VGF (Viability Gap Funding) would be required from Govt of India under its PPP framework.
We had an in-depth discussions with Mr Rohit Chaturvedi, Director CRISIL and Mr Saurabh Suneha Associate Director of CRISIL. They are based in Mumbai and Delhi. The Delhi office would co-ordinate with DEA, GoI, Planning Commission, MoUD and UMTC. And, of course, in Mumbai, there is already a monorail that is being built.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Flyover for connecting Baruipur

Yesterday I travelled south along E M By Pass, starting from Salt Lake, heading south, crossing Science City, Ruby Hospital, Garia Road crossing, till I reached a place called Kamalgazi. Here, a 1 km long curved flyover will be constructed. This will connect EM By Pass to Baruipur Road. In Baruipur, a township is being constructed by KMDA, who is also building this fly-over. I, along with MLA Sonarpur, CEO KMDA, CE KMDA broke coconuts to mark the start of the project on ground. It will take 18 months to be completed. Here is a photo on my camera:
Work starts for new flyover yesterday
- connecting EMByPass to Baruipur Road -
In the evening, I held a meeting with few PSUs to see how we could quicken the pace of EMBy Pass widening: Makintosh Burn, Saxby Farmer and Britania Engineering MDs were there along with CEO KMDA and CE KMDA. The PSUs will let us know their plans within a week.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Weekend festival in Rabindra Tirtha

Yesterday, there was a brilliant play staged by the students of Rabindrabharati university at Rabindra Tirtha. Before that, there was a set of Rabindra Sangeets by them. Here is a photo:
Saturday Programme at Rabindra Tirtha
-- Targeting cultural events every weekend --
* * *
We published an advertisement on Eco Park today. Here is it:

And here is a report appearing in today's Times of India on Eco Park. Suman Chakraborty spoke to me about this.
* * *
Here is a clipping from today's Anandabazar:

* * *
Here is another sculpture that has been installed in New Town. This one is near Hidco Bhavan:

Saturday, January 12, 2013

150 Years of Swamiji

Hidco's Diary for 2013 commemorates 150th Year of Swami Vivekananda. The diary was released by me in the Tuesday weekly review meeting on 1st January 2013. Here is a photo:
Hidco Diary 2013
Theme: 150 Years of Vivekananda
* * *
Just returned from the state ceremony on 150 Years of Swamiji at Salt Lake Stadium. Here are two photos from my camera:
Inauguration of celebrations:
Salt Lake Stadium

And a "panorama" shot from my Sony h55, from the dias:

Friday, January 11, 2013

Sculpture in New Town Island

I did my morning walk today at the Eco Park (Prakriti Tirtha), seeing the sun rise over the horizon. On earlier occasions I'd seen the sun set across the lake in the Eco Park: I think of the jetty as Sunset Point: maybe we will put up a board to that effect there some time.
The morning shift of the security was relieving the night shift of park guards. A supervisor said that they require more guards. Another said that we should inform the people that the Park is closed on Mondays: I think we'll place a small advertisement this Sunday.

On my way back, I took the photo of the new sculpture that has been just installed in the second rotary:
 * * *
Here is a cutting from today's Telegraph:

And here is a clipping that appeared in yesterday's Times of India:

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Passenger Information System in New Town

Today, we had a meeting with IT service providers, bus operators and transport department representatives at Hidco.The objective was to explore how to device a Passenger Information Service so that passengers in bus stands of New Town would know when the next bus is due to come by seeing a LCD scroll board.
It seems, while the technology is not at all difficult, maintenance and servicing in real-life bus conditions is an issue. We will think of the best way forward by not paying for the equipment but the service (with a given amount of uptime).
It was also agreed that like railway stations, in 4-5 key locations in New Town, digital information boards will be set up that will give details of bus routes and scheduled time tables. This may not use real-time GPS / RFID tracking but provide relevant information to all users.
* * *
Today, the UD Department has issued a notification stating that Shri Sisir Adhikary, MP is the Chairman of Digha Sankarpur Development Authority. In another notification, Mr Arup Saha has been designated the CEO of KMDA.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Art in Artists' Cottage

Yesterday, Managing Director of an Ayurvedic Centre in Mysore met me at Hidco. We are toying with an idea of having a health spa in the island at Eco Park (Prakriti Tirtha). I took him around the Park in the evening. He seemed to be quite fascinated with the concept. I also took him to the Artists' Cottage and showed him the painting jointly drawn there on 29th Dec 12 by Jogen Chowdhury, Suvaprasanna and Mamata Banerjee also containing caligraphy by Dwijen Mukhopadhyay and Joy Goswami. Here is the photo taken by me there:
Oil on Canvas: Untitled
At Artists'Cottage, Eco Park Dec 2012
We will frame it once the oil painting dries properly.
* * *
Here is a clipping from yesterday's Khabar 365:

Friday, January 4, 2013

Eco Park to be Closed on Mondays

The new Eco Park (Prakriti Tirtha ) is now open from 11 am to 9 pm every day. However, as in most museums and places of tourist interests, this will be closed on Mondays for maintenance and upkeep.
* * *
I held the urgent review meeting on Wednesday afternoon (2nd Jan), as scheduled. I also went around for a physical inspection with Hidco's Team yesterday. We decided on a few set of actions on a fast track basis:

1. The number of exits and entries would be increased and rationalized  The present entry point (gate no 2) will be used for exit only. New entrance & exit plazas, with car parking and ticket kiosks, will be set up on the two ends of Prakriti Tirtha. No entry would be allowed directly from the road itself. To disperse queue on ticket counter quickly, instead of the thermal paper electronic electronic machine, numbered printed coupons will be used.
2. Additional toilet facilities will be set up at the new entrance-exit places. An additional bio-toilet will be set up near Tea Junction.
3. NKDA's Solid Waste Management Team will put in additional garbage bins soon. These will be cleared twice daily. A separate sweeping and cleaning agency will be engaged.
4. Food zones will be clearly marked. Food facilities will be increased.
5. In the jetty, overcrowding will be disallowed by permitting only those who are to board the boat on the jetty. A demarcating rope will be used.
6. Adequate signage will be set up at different points.
7. Standby lighting arrangements including emergency torches will be installed. Closed circuit TV will be installed.

Here is a cutting that appeared in Anandabazar on Tuesday:

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Road Work Starts in Action Area IID

Construction of nine kilometres of internal road started yesterday in Action Area IID of New Town. Part of the planned Diplomatic Enclave will be located here. Time of completion is 12 months. Drainage and sewerage works have been completed. I went to a ground breaking ceremony yesterday and broke a coconut to mark the beginning of the project. Chief Engineer Ananda Ganguli and GM(E)-IV Suman Neogi were present. Here is a photo taken by me:
* * *
The evening cultural programme by Samrat & Troupe was held as scheduled. The pandel was quite full. However, the time taken by the band to set up its instruments took a bit long, I thought. Here is a picture of the audience by me:
* * *
The rush in Eco Park was beyond all expectations. I'd expected spectators to trickle in till the word got around. But this was an avalanche! I will hold an urgent meeting today afternoon. Here are a few cuttings from today's newspapers:
Pratidin dt 2.1.13
Bartaman dt 2.1.13
* * *
Here is a clipping from yesterday's Anandabazar: