Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Art Workshop Starts

Yesterday, eminent painter Jogen Chowdhury inaugurated the art workshop on the graphiti wall near Gate 1 of Eco Park. A photo:

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Combating Water Logging

After the torrential rains yesterday - as someone put it: one months' rain in a day - we tried to combat the onslaught in New Town as best as we could. Right from the morning, engineers and officers were on the field and an emergency meeting was called in at Hidco Bhavan. I cancelled all other meetings. All drainage pumping stations were put in full operation. I visited the sites several times. In the evening, more pumps were installed at various places.

Even today, we kept our efforts up. In the evening today, I inspected the critical Jatragachi pumping station site (see picture below) and asked for more pumps to be installed: additional three 15 horsepower diesel pumps are put in service within the evening. Although Chinar Park is out of New Town, the road there still has parts under water and I spoke to engineers to take measures.

Jatragachi Pumping Station in Operation with additional pumps
Inset: Draining out to Bagjola Canal
* * *
Here are few clippings:
Anandabazar dt 27Oct2013

Bartaman dt 27Oct 2013

Times of India dt 26 Oct 2013

Saturday, October 26, 2013

3rd Kolkata International Children's Film Festival at Rabindra Tirtha 21-28 December 13

Today we got a formal confirmation to the effect that one leg of the Kolkata International Film Festival will be held at Rabindra Tirtha from 21 -28 December 2013.
I'm quite excited. Especially because I'd requested Hon'ble Chief Minister only recently. Here is a part of the official letter:
* * *
Because of the torrential rains in the morning, we cancelled the Art Workshop. In a brief meeting held with the participating artists, it was decided that, weather permitting, the Workshop will be held on Tuesday 28th October 2013 instead of today. Jogenbabu is expected to inaugurate the workshop. Here is a picture in Hidco Board Room:
Artists and us : rescheduling the Art Workshop
* * *
Here is a press clipping:
Khabar 365 dated 25th Oct 13

Friday, October 25, 2013

Rain God Willing, Art Workshop tomorrow 26th October

Arrangements are complete for tomorrow's Art Workshop on Graphiti Wall on Eco Park. This will be near Gate 1 of Eco Park and will be participated by a group of young talented artists who are former students of Kala Bhavan, Shantiniketan and Rabindra Bharati University. The workshop is being conceived and directed by eminent painter Jogen Chowdhury, Professor Emeritus, Viswabharati. The workshop will start from 10.30am tomorrow (26th Oct) but we are worried of the rains. The workshop will last for five days.

This is the second art workshop. The earlier one was held for painting one side of the graphiti wall. It was directed by noted painter Shri Suvaprasanna.
* * *
Here is a clipping from today's Telegraph Salt Lake:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Dailey C. O'Neil Inaugurates First New Town Mela

Mr Dailey C. O'Neil, Management Officer, US Consulate General, Kolkata visited my office in the afternoon as per schedule. After the meeting, I requested him to visit the New Town Mela and inaugurate it. He graciously agreed. A photo:

L to R: Me, Dailey C. O'Neil, Sabyasachi Datta, Santosh Nimbalkar
Inset: A walk around the Mela after its opening today
* * *
Here are two clippings:

Ei Samay dt 23 Oct 2013

Khabar 365: 23 Oct 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013

Prizes to New Town Puja on Saturday by Minister Hakim

This Saturday 26th October 2013, Hon'ble Firham Hakim, Minister will give away prizes to winner Puja Committees of New Town. This was agreed to by the Minister when I met him today afternoon at his chamber in Writers' Buildings. The distribution of prizes will take place in the dais being constructed within New Town Mela. Last years' prizes were distributed by Hon'ble Minister in Rabindra Tirtha.

Before that, I'd been to Nabanna where I  happened to meet Hon'ble Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the ground floor itself. I wished her Shubho Bijoya. The lifts were not working and I climbed the stairs to Chief Secretary Mr Sanjay Mitrs'a chamber at the 13th Floor. A photo from the 13th floor of the view outside on my mobile:

 * * *
Here are two cuttings:

Ebela dt 21Oct 2013

Anandabazar dt 21.10.13
* * *
Ajkal dt 22.10.13

Sunday, October 20, 2013

New Town Mela from Wednesday

Prolonged rains have been adversely affecting all project / field works. This is also true of the Mela Ground preparations in New Town. I went to inspect the Mela Ground preparation with officers and engineers of NKDA, including Gopal Ghosh CEO, P K Sen Gupta CE and others. I advised all concerned to do their best when it stops raining in the few days left for the planned start on 23rd Oct. With our fingers crossed, we are still sticking to the dates (see earlier blog posts of 13/ 28 Sep, 8 Oct etc).

Today, NKDA's first advertisement appeared. (I hope it doesn't rain again):

* * *
Here are a few clippings:

Anandabazar dt 20 Oct 2013

Khabar 365 dt 20 Oct 2013

Khabar 365 dt 20 Oct 2013

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Bhumi Puja of Union Bank

This afternoon, a little after 4.30pm, Mr Debabrata Sarkar, Chairman cum Managing Director of Union Bank, laid the foundattion stone of a "Union Bank Bhavan" at the Financial Hub in New Town Kolkata. I was invited, along with MP Ms Kakali Ghosh Dastidar. A picture:

Seated, L to R:
Director Mr D. Banerji, me, CMD Debabrata Sarkar, MP
Inset: Site of Bhumi Puja
* * *
Here is a cutting from today's Times of India:

Friday, October 18, 2013

Caring for the Water Body

I went yesterday to see how the cleaning operations were going on at the New Immersion Ghat of New Town. It was 3 pm in the afternoon and I found a number of persons and machines engaged in taking out image frames, straw, wooden frames etc from the water. A crane, a compactor machine, three wheeled dumpers and a number of trawler rickshaws were engaged in the operations. Few persons were in water to help bring in the frames to the shore. I came to know that there was a demand for resale of the wooden frames. Here are two pictures on my camera:
17th Oct 2013, 3pm: 74 images were immersed in this new Ghat this time

Compactor Machine taking away the frames to disposal site
* * *
Here are two clippings:

Khabar 365 dt 17 Oct 13

The Telegraph (Salt Lake) dt 11 Oct 2013
* * *
In the Board Meeting of Hidco held on 10th Oct 2013, a resolution was adopted to establish the first ever Wax Museum in the city. The top floor of the Finance Centre building, situated just opposite to Gate no. 2 of Ecxo Park, has been identified for establishing the wax museum. An expression of interest has since been invited which can be seen at

A Madam Tussad-like
attraction soon in Kolkata?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Mask Garden

A 600 sq metre area has been designated as a Mask Garden Area within Eco Park. This was approved in the Board Meeting of Hidco held on 10th October 2013.

The Mask Garden will be divided into three zones. One zone would consist of 14 masks from the districts of West Bengal. A second zone would cotain 12 masks from other states such as Kerala, Orissa, Assam, UP, Uttaranchal. Tamil Nadu, Mizoram, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Arunachal Pradesh. The third zone would contain 35 masks from few other countries such as Africa, Bolivia, Basra, USA, Japan, Sri Lanka, Kampuchea, Bhutan, Bangladesh etc.

All masks would be replicas made of fibre glass with an average size of 1.5m x 1 m. Here is a picture of a Cambodian mask of an owl :
* * *
Here is a clipping from today's Anandabazar:

* * *
And here is a cutting from today's Khabar 365:

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Shubho Bijoya 2013

In the new Ghat in Action Area ID, there was an air of gaiety and festivity right from 3pm yesterday till 10pm or so. As darkness descended from 5 pm onwards, the crowd, dhak, dance and immersions gathered momentum. The 12 professional persons brought in took the images at the ghat and immersed in water: the precaution intended to avoid drowning hazards.
When 4-5 groups were peforming together, there was a crescendo of joy and merriment under the white light of the six high mast metal halides, The viewing gallery was also a great success. Police were deployed in numbers to ensure traffic flow and ensure that the flow continued.
Many organizers met me at the dais and expressed their satisfaction at the arrangements.
In all, 69 protimas were immersed on Dashami day. Of these, 47 were New Town Pujas while 22 were from adjoining areas of Salt Lake, Rajarhat, Mahisbatan, Jatragach etc.
Here is a link ofa short video that I just uploaded on You Tube>

And here is a photo on my mobile:

Yesterday at New Town Ghat: around 8pm or so
Inset: Viewing Gallery

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Board Meeting of NKDA

At the Board meeting of NKDA held yesterday, the following decisions were taken:

1. Development of Parks (a) At Action Area IIB (b) At Action Area IIC
2. Cricket Ground at Action Area IID with gallery and pavilion
3. Community Markets (a) At Action Area IC  (b) At Action Area IIC (c) At Action Area IID  (d) At Action Area ID
4. Incentive on use of Solar Energy will be given at par with that of Bengal Municipal Rules.
* * *
Here are few photos and clippings about yesterday's events:

New Conference Room at 6th Floor of Nagarayan inaugurated:
New Website and m-Governance were launched;
Foundation Stone of SGO Complex was laid

Seniors' Park at New Town:
Plaque being unveiled

Site of Subway: Being Inaugurated
Announcement in Anandabazar

Anandabazar dated 9th Oct

Khabar 365 dated 9th Oct

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Self Select

I held a residents' meet for New Town yesterday. We discussed about (a) Puja matters and (b) Mela & Cultural Matters.
We informed that a panel of judges would go around the 43 odd puja pandals of New Town and rank them. The prizes would be given on Bijoya Sanmelani days of 26-27 Oct at New Town Mela Ground Stage. At the stage, each community puja would be given a 15-minute slot for showcasing their best cultural performances made during the pujas. The organiser themselves would select whom to showcase in the wider platform.

Immersion would take place in the new Ghat near Tata Medical Centre. The Ghat would be inaugurated today by Minister Firhad Hakim (see earlier post for pic). The preferred timings for immersion would be 3pm- 9pm, we decided.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Car Rally

More than 50 entries participated in today's car rally at Eco Park. The event took place near Gate 1 of the Eco Park. There was a spirit of gaiety  when I reached there at 10 am today morning. There were obstacle pillars laid at regular intervals and one had to drive without touching these drums, reverse once and plant a flag at the start point. The whole event took place with careful time keeping for each car. Each participant could do two laps and the best of the two was taken in. Here is a picture:
* * *
I inspected the subway that will be opened to traffic on the 8th October. It is almost ready. It is stated to be one of the largest subways with 10 entry-exits. Photo of one such:

Friday, October 4, 2013


This afternoon at Eco Park, there was the demonstration of flying drones, being unmanned aerial vehicles. I'd read about drones in Dan Brown's latest book "Inferno" and seen one at the Independence Day parade at Red Road earlier this year. This "udaan" event was organiised by Prantakatha in co-operation with Hidco. I was interested to see if such quadricopter drones could be used for surveillance in the vast Eco Park, because there is no way closed circuit TVs can be used in the 480 acre park.
The demonstration was quite a success and I've asked for further modifications and estimates.
Here is a picture:
Inset: Flying Quadricopter
"Udaan" at Eco Park on 4th October, Mahalaya Day
* * *
I received a notification bearing no. 26/6/12-PPD from Govt of India, Ministry of Finance regarding procurement of energy efficient electrical appliances. It says that split Air Conditioners purchased by government departments should have 5 star ratings of BEE under normal conditions where annual usages are expected to be 1,000 hours or more. It can be of 3 star rating for Conference Rooms etc where occasional use is expected. It further says that ceiling fans and water heaters should invariably be of 5 star category.

I forwarded this to Chief Engineer (Electrical) for following the norms.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

New Ghat in New Town

Even last year, there was a clamour from Puja organisers that they didn't wan't to Kolkata's ghat for immersion of Durga pratimas to avoid jams, congestion and pollution. They mentioned that they didn't want to create further traffic issues by going to ghats along Hugly. They wanted that a water body in New Town may be developed for immersion purposes. We promised.
Today I went with NKDA CEO Gopal Ghosh and Chief Engineer P.K.Sen Gupta to see how this was progressing. I found that it is almost complete, with pink Dholpur Stone lined ghats, wide stairs, a wide terrace on the bank for the inevitable last minute dhaker dance and even a viewer's gallery.
The new ghat will be inaugurated by Minister Firhad Hakim on 8th October.

Here is a picture:

* * *
Here is a clipping from today's Times of India:

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Fide Rapid Fire Chess Tournament Starts in New Town

At noon today, the 2-day Chess Tournament started at New Town in the Finance Centre Building, opposite Eco Park's Gate no.2. There were 150 or so participants. Grandmaster Nisha Mohota and International Master Subrajit were there on the stage with me during the inauguration. A photo:
L-R: Nisha Mohota, me, Sutanu Kar, Atanu Lahiri, Subrajit
Inset: On the magnetic demonstration board
On stage, I recalled the excitement of Bobby Fisher - Karpov matches of our college days. The effort to reach out to young children was good and that is what the Russian strategy was, I'd read somewhere : Catch 'em young.
* * *
Here is a clipping from today's Khabar 365:

And here is a cutting from yesterday's Times of India: