Saturday, December 27, 2014

Dolphin Census

In our letter number 82/2014 dt 24.12.2014, we have, from UD, forwarded a Dolphin Actin Plan for West Bengal. This is a component under the NMCG (National Mission for Clean Ganga). It was prepared by Forest Department.The scheme proposes to conduct a census in Ganga in West Bengal. There will also be awareness programmes in the action plan
    The Gangetic Dolphin was declared as the National Aquatic Animal in 2010. It is an endangered species. It is in especial danger because it does not have eyes and finds its way through echo-location. This does not work in nylon fishing nets. Since it has to come up for air for breathing every 5-7 minutes, it dies in these nylon fishing nets. Barrages are another threat as their eco-environment becomes fragmented. Pollution is also a problem.
     India has banned dolphin shows of all kind in recognition of their unique intelligence and self-awareness.
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Yesterday, Prof Anuradha Lohia, Vice Chancellor of Presidency University, came to Hidco Bhavan and then visited the site of 10 acres that was allotted to Presidency University last year. Tenders for the boundary wall has been invited. Architectural drawings have also started.

At site of second campus of Presidency University:
Registrar, me, Asst Registrar, VC Anuradha Lohia, Gopal
Ghose, Mrinal Mukherji, Sutanu Kar

Friday, December 26, 2014

Highest ever footfall in Eco Park and Wax Museum

Yesterday was Christmas. We recorded highest ever number of footfalls in a single day ever since opening of Eco Park on 1st January 2012 or Mother's Wax Museum on 11th November 2014. In Eco Park, the footfall was more than 55 thousand (55,028). In Mother's Wax Museum, it was more than three thousand (3,156) - a total of 16,370 since inception.
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Few clippings:

Pratidin dt 26 Dec 2014
Khabar 365 dt 26 Dec 2014
Khabar 365 dt 26 Dec 2014
Anandabazar dt 26 Dec 2014
Ei Samay dt 26 Dec 2014

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Chinese Delegation: Advertising Park

A fairly large Chinese delegation visited UD this morning. I was quit fascinated to know that China was building Advertising Parks. The idea is to treat publicity-media-creativity-billboards-branding etc all as an industry that contributes to GDP and therefore needs to be nucleated from disjointed personalized initiatives to a coherent, nurtured and professional industry where experts from all over the world could contribute. I had a long discussion with Mr Clark xiao, Chief Consultant of Kunming Advertising Park although, despite the valiant efforts of the translator, language was an issue. I told him that we could exchange ideas through emails to see if there could be such a park in New Town too.

The team visited Eco Park soon thereafter.A group photo at Nagarayan just before their departure:

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The adventure game called Paintball was launched today afternoon. It is located near the Mask Garden, entry through gate 3. A photo of the players before start of an inaugural exhibition match:

The Heliconia Garden was opened for the public yesterday evening. A group photo with Forest and Hidco officers :

Here is a clipping from today's Anandabazar:

Monday, December 22, 2014

4th Kolkata International Children's Film Festival Starts at Rabindra Tirtha

The Children's Film Festival will be held from today at Rabindra Tirtha along with other halls of Kolkata. There will be three shows daily, at 11.30 am, 2.30 pm and 5.30 pm. This is the second year that the Children's Film Festival will be held at Rabindra Tirtha.
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An innovative ethnic formation is being installed by Hidco at the traffic islands near Swiss Hotel /City Centre2. It is being created by Abin Chowdhury, architect. I took a photo yesterday evening on my mobile:

Reflective caps on coloured formations:
at 7th rotary
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Few clippings:
Hindustan Times, dt 22 Dec 2014
Times of India dt 22 Dec 2014
Khabar 365 dt 22 Dec 2014

Saturday, December 20, 2014

NISG submits Inception Report for New Town Smart City

I just got the inception report submitted for the Smart City Project of New Town. It is prepared by NISG- National Institute for Smart Governance. It has proposed to adopt a citizen-centric approach. It proposes to adopt innovative design and futuristic technology. It will make an Integrated Smart City Development Plan for New Town after interacting with residents, stakeholders, product demonstration and research. It has proposed the following modules:

SCADA based Water Management: Including predictive maintenance, leak management etc
Energy: including smart lighting and smart metering
Sewerage & Waste Management: including networked solid waste disposal and recycling
GPS based Transport: including route optimisation and traffic prediction
Security and Safety including intelligent video analytics

I will meet them next week to give our feedback. Here is a picture of the cover of the Inception Report:

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Here is a clipping from today's Sanmarg:
Sanmarg dt 20 Dec 2014

Friday, December 19, 2014

Public Library for New Town

I moved a proposal yesterday to the Library Department requesting that a new library be set upin New Town. Many residents had requested from time to time. At Action Area II, a Utility Office Building is under construction: it should be completed by April-May 2015. One floor of this building may be enough to house a modern state-of-the art library. I have even sent a site plan and floor plan to the library department.I also spoke to Mr Vivek Kumar, Principal Secretary, requesting his help.
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Few clippings:

Ei Samay dt 19 Dec 2014

Top and bottom: Sat Lake Telegraph dt 19 Dec 2014

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Upasana Griha

The Board of NKDA met last Saturday. It decided to construct a heritage structure in the lines of Upasana Griha of Shantiniketan at its immersion ghat site in Action Area 1 . The ghat has been named Upasana Sthal by Hon'ble CM. It will form the control dais that is built every year to monitor immersion ceremony of idols. The Upasana Griha will also be used as a meditation centre where yoga classes will be conducted by NKDA round the year. On the bank of a perennial water body, opposite a tree bank and overlooking the paved wide ghat, the Upasana Griha will add value to the Upasana Sthal

An artist's impression:

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Hawker Rehabilitation Centre near Unitech /Infospace

In a half acre plot, a hawker rehabilitation centre will be constructed by NKDA to shift all existing hawkers in front of Unitech and Infospace. The plot number identified for this is DJ/17. There will be paved flooring, boundary wall, drain, power, washing area toilet etc There will be provision for accommodating 80 kiosks with wheels. This was decided at NKDA's board meeting yesterday.
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Like last year, Family Adda will be organised near Gate 1 of Eco Park from 20 December. An advertisement that was released today in t2 by the organizers:

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Here are two clippings from today's papers:
Times of India dt 14 Dec 2014

Khabar 365 dt 14 Dec2014

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Township Policy Passed by Cabinet

The urban development department proposed the formulation of a new Township Policy to cater to the increasing urbanisation and to encourage private investments. The towns will have to conform to certain basic criteria like 25% of residential apartments for the Economically Weaker Sections of the Society and earmarking 25% of the land use on economic themes. The minimum area would be 50 acres. Here is a clipping from today's Anandabazar on this:

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Yesterday, I inspected progress of the new Heliconia Garden project in Eco Park.It is nearing completion and I was told that it will be fit tobe opened to the general visitors within a week. A photo:

Above: Heliconia Garden
Below: Orchid Shed in Heliconia Garden
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Here is a link from today's Statesman:

"New Town to Get Latest Waste Disposal Technology"

Here is a clipping fromlast Friday's Salt Lake Telegraph:

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Indo Nepal Students visit Eco Park

Recently, the University of Kolkata, through their Institute of Foreign Policy Studies, conducted a tour of Indian and Nepalese students to Eco Park and Wax Museum. This was part of the Bharat Nepal Shikshya Maitri Karyakram and was supported by the University Grant Commission. We in Hidco facilitated the visit. I am told that the guests liked the Eco Park and Wax Museum a lot.A photo (courtesy KU):

Students of Nepal and India in Eco Island
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Here are a few clippings:

Times of India dt 11 Dec 2014

Khabar 365 dt 11 Dec 2014

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Subway Inaugurated

A little while ago, Minister Firhad Hakim inaugurated the 45 m long underground subway between Nazrul Tirtha / Animikha and Millennium Towers. A pictur:

The walls of the subway are covered with photos, back-lit that are
now adorned with eco park and other pictures
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Here are two clippings from today's papers:

Khabar 365 dt 9 Dec 2014

Abz dt 9 Dec 2014

Monday, December 8, 2014

Picnic and Angling

Yesterday we started angling in Eco Park. Rs 1,500 per seat.There are 5 seats. Seats have to be booked in advance: there is no on-spot booking. Already bookings for 7 days have been made.There was a festive mood with a number of curious onlookers too. At the request of the first day's anglers, I decided to extend the time every day till sunset time. Also, 4 (instead of 3) hooks per fishing rod will be allowed, we agreed, for the reason that big fish tend to free themselves away otherwise. 

Yesterday, at Eco Park:
Suman Neogy, Sutanu Kar, me, T Giri
Today, I inspected the banks of the Upasana Ghat in Action Area 1D along with officers of NKDA and Hidco.We decided that from next Sunday, picnics will be allowed. There are arrangements for 4 groups of picnicers on a day: there are kitchen sheds,washing area,water taps and Pay-and Use Toilet. The rate wouldbe Rs 1,500 per day per group.

Kitchen / dining shed for picnic in Upasana Ghat 

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Here are a few clippings from today's papers:

Times of India dt 8 Dec 2014

Khabar 365 dt 8 Dec 2014
Times of India dt 8 Dec 2014

Sunday, December 7, 2014

World Bank Team for Hoogly Riverfront Development

On Friday last, I had a detailed meeting with a World Bank team that was in Kolkata from 3-6 Dec 2014. Among other works, they took a ride on the boat on Hoogly, met Commissioner KMC Khalil Ahmed, CEO KMDA Surinder Gupta and Dy Chairman KoPT Manish Jain. A wrap up meeting took place on Friday. The World Bank Team here was headed by Ms Charlene J. Chichgar. A planning expert from the Thompson Design Group of Boston Mr Pratap Talwar gave a presentation. I told that while two reports on Hoogly Riverfront Development were already with us (one by School of Architecture and Planning, Delhi and the other by BUIDL/ILFS), what we lacked was a long-term framework and a short-term action plan. I said that ideally the riverfront should a predominantly public space with residential and commercial development beyond the public zone, mostly pedestrianized, as far as possible. For this, I suggested, the circular railway could be converted into an underground metro railway to free up space and cut clutter and simultaneously improve transportation efficiency. Even the Strand Road could be pushed underground into a tunnel road. Cantilever decks over the water would also give space to develop the riverfront. However, I emphasized that any development should be in-situ and inclusive that integrated existing users. Mr Talwar gave examples around the world but cautioned that it had taken decades - sometimes 30 years or so - in some cases to complete the transformation. I added that like the London Thames Association, we too need a dedicated, focussed institute to take the project forward in small but definite steps. The World Bank agreed that a plan framework could be worked out through a Technical Assistance Programme but it would take 8-12 months to complete it. A photo:

Me, DG KMC, Sharlene Chichgar, KMC Engineer Dua,
Pratap Talwar, Stefania Abakerli (World Bank)
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We started the infrastructure works in Action Area  IIIB of New Town on Friday. A photo:

In site, in front of a drawing showing water, sewerage, water tank and
sewage lifting stations to be constructed:
MLA, Zilla Parishad Member, Pradhan are seen in the photo 
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Here are a few clippings:

(Above and below) Salt Lake Telgraph dt 5 Dec 2014

t2 dt 3 Dec 2014

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Pedestrian Subway near Wax Museum Starts

Eco Park's Gate no.2 and Wax Museum entrance are on opposite side of each other, separated by the Biswa Bangla Sarani. It warrants a hassle-free cross-over for tourist visitors. The work commenced today. A photo:
Coconut breaking for subway near Wax Museum
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Few clippings from today's newspapers:

Khabar 365 dt 3 Dec 2014

Bartaman dt 3 Dec 2014

Monday, December 1, 2014

Angling to start in Eco Park

The angling decks in Eco Park are almost complete. We hope to allow hobbyists and enthusiasts soon, by a week or so.Here is a picture that I took yesterday:

For a picture of the design, see my earlier post at Post on Angling
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Here is a clipping from today's Khabar 365: