Friday, January 31, 2014

UD's Performance As Per Administrative Calendar: January 2014

The following targets / items were listed for January 2014 in the Administrative Calendar 2014 for Urban Development Department:

1. Completion of Purulia Bhavan At Salt Lake
2. Completion of Storm Water Drainage at Budge Budge
3. Dance Workshop at Rabindra Tirtha
4. Business Meet on Solar Energy
5. Steel Foot Bridge at Millennium Park
6. Commencement of Street Lighting in New Town
7. Completion of four Residential Blocks in Baisakhi Abasan, Salt Lake
8. Community Market in AA-1B
9. Car Parking in New Town
10. Desilting canal in Baranagar
11. Completion of 5th Intersection in MAR, New Town
12. Completion of road in IOC Corridor in Kalyanpur, Asansol
13. Beautification of Nandakumar Rotary

Except for the road in Asansol, all targets were substantially achieved. I thank the team of officers and staff  of UD, KMDA, Hidco, NKDA, HDA, CEA and others for the great performance. In Asansol, some design changes were required and that delayed matters.
* * *
Yesterday, I cut the ribbon for three projects in New Town: Jatragachi Water Drainage Pump Station, 4th Intersection of Major  Arterial Road and 5th Intersection of MAR. Both intersections were opened up to traffic. Photos:
Switching on the one of the 4 gigantic water pumps
Jatragachi Drainage Pumping Station Inaugurated:
Water pumped to Bagjola Canal
4th Intersection on Major Arterial Road opened
5th (Owl) Intersection being opened on 30th Jan 14
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Here are three press clippings:
Today's Salt Lake Telegraph

Khabar 365

Times of India dt 30th Jan 2014:
I used this photo in my presentation to Legal Services Officers
at ATI yesterday

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Retirement Mela Planned on 28 Feb - 3 March

We have frozen the dates of Retirement Mela after two rounds of discussions with Dignity Foundation. Inauguration may be done in the afternoon of Friday the 28th February 2014. Over the weekend, on 1-2 March, the Mela will continue in Rabindra Tirtha and conclude on 3rd March, Sunday.
Besides various stalls (on health / financial issues) and demonstration (like cooking, computers etc), there may be sessions from experts on how to excel in a 'second career'. I am planning to get speakers on writing books, tele-promoting, home tourism, gardening etc that may be held in the main auditorium of Rabindra Tirtha.
Here is a clipping from Khabar 365:

Today, a young lady sponsored a visit of 50 senior citizens to the Eco Park on the occasion of her parents' anniversary. We helped the group too. A photo:
Seniors' Day Out at Eco Park today:
Photo courtesy Sanjib Sharma
* * *
A new owl sculpture was installed today. The sculpture was conceived by Mr P R Das, former Principal Consultant of Hidco and executed / installed at the 5th Intersection by Anin De, EE NKDA. Owl is the vayan of Laxmi. The road leads to Financial Hub. A photo:

* * *
A week-long exhibition of Kantha Stitch work was inaugurated today. The workshop on Kathak Dance ended today. Photos:
Seated L to R:
Jawahar Sircar, Suvaprasanna, SHE's Director, Dance Director

Kathak Performance by trainees of Dance Workshop today

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Land Use Plan published for areas around New Town

The Land Use Development and Control Plan (LUDCP) has been published today as scheduled. The public notice appearing in Anandabazar and other dailies today is as follows:

The area for which the Plan has been drawn up is 60 sq km - more than twice as large as New Town. 1.85 lakh people are already living in this area. The LUDCP has been done through an extensive field survey so that the path to a gradual emergence of a planned township can take place without affecting existing habitation. A major portion (44.37%) of the proposed land use plan is designated as residential where housing projects can take place. But there are plans for roads and utilities (8.36%), open spaces and water bodies (16.22%), educational and cultural institutions as well as business etc.
    After the period of suggestions / objections is over, the LUDCP will be finalised and published. Together with the new building rules of NKDA for this area, the framework for preventing unplanned urbanisation and encouraging planned townships in this area will be fully in place.
* * *
Yesterday, we did a bhumi-puja of the underground pedestrian subway near DLF Building / first rotary to enable safe crossing of the Major Arterial Road..The construction will not be done by digging: there will be tunnel boring for which a very specialised machine is being mobilised.

* * *
We also broke coconut shells to mark the commencement of an utility building in Action Area II:

Sunday, January 26, 2014

New Building Rules for Area near New Town published

The New Town Kolkata Planning Area (Building) Rules 2014 was published in draft today. This, along with the draft Land Use Development & Control Plan - to be published in draft form shortly - will go a long way in ensuring that urbanisation, development, construction etc goes forward in a planned manner in the area surrounding New Town Kolkata project / township area.

The following public notice was published in today's Times of India:

The first page of the Gazette notification is as follows:

Once the period of giving suggestion / objection is over, a final publication will be made and the rules will be binding.
The rules apply in the Planning Area of New Town. This is defined in Schedule I of the notification. This is called the HIDCO Planning area . It excludes New Town Project Area. The Planning Area falls under Panchayats but is fast urbanising being near to Kolkata. In order to prevent haphazard buildings in an unplanned manner without regard to plan for urban roads, drainage, sewerage, parking, public utilities etc., the new rules, combined with LUDCP, will pave the way for a planned town in the future.
The rules apply to buildings that are more than 15 m high and to projects with land area of 1 hectare or more. In these cases, NKDA will scrutinise applications for sanction of building plans and give a 'NOC' only after which the Sanctioning Authority will approve the building plans. However, plans will not be received by NKDA directly. Panchayat Samity will receive the plans even for buildings above 15 m or on 1 ha and send through Zilla Parishad to NKDA for their scrutiny and NOC.
There are many progressive features in the rules which are largely based on the latest version of Kolkata Corporation's building rules. The most spectacular feature is the option of donating to government a strip of land of 2.50m width on the front of a building get permission for taller buildings.
* * *
 In the morning, I went to Nagaryan, Hidco Bhavan and NKDA to hoist the National Flag. Pictures:
9am, 26 Jan 2014: Nagarayan
9.30 am, Hidco Bhavan
10am: NKDA
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Here are two clippings from today's Times of India:

Friday, January 24, 2014

Dance Workshop Starts

A 5-day Kathak Dance Workshop started in Rabindra Tirtha today. The workshop is being directed by Amita Datta of Rabindra Bharati University. It started today and will continue till 29th January 2014. Every day, sessions will start at 2pm and continue till 6pm. About 25 odd participants have enrolled, some coming from Hoogly, Salt Lake, Lake Town, Dum Dum etc. During my interaction on the inaugural day, I requested Ms Amita Datta if a token performance can be staged by the participants for all to see. A photo:

Amita Datta (far left) teaching participants at Rabindra Tirtha today
* * *
I received official confirmation today that Sangeet Mela 2014 will also be held in Rabindra Tirtha on 10-17 February 2014. I'd posted this information earlier in this blog on getting an informal feedback. Here is the official letter:
* * *
On my invitation, Ms Banani Kakkar, Member of East Kolkata Wetland Authority and a well known environmentalist, visited Eco Park today. We discussed how we could get comprehensive photographs of birds in Eco Park (we've already started documentation), how we could organise bird interpretation centre and how to make a natural bird habitat. We inspected few probable sites of "Pakhiraaya", discussed how games could be organised on bird watching contests. I took Ms Kakkar to our Bird Observatory and explained that we'd got a pair of binoculars to facilitate bird watching but that we needed experts / enthusiasts to really take off. We decided to chalk out strategies. A photo:
Ananda Ganguly, CE, me and Banani Kakkar

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Haldia Trade Fair 2014

As requested by Chairman Haldia Development Authority Subhendu Adhikary MP and P. Ulganathan,IAS CEO HDA, I attended yesterday the opening of the Haldia Trade Fair. Later, I saw the Gateway to Haldia at Brajalalchak. Photos:
Photo courtesy Animesh Pramanik

Gateway to Haldia:
Photo courtesy HDA

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Rose Garden wins prizes

As many have commented, the rose garden at eco park has come up really well. Concept, design and maintenance is by PHED's Debashis Banerjee Executive Engineer and his colleagues. The Bengal Rose Society had its annual rose show recently, on 11th and 12th January 2014 at the Dalhousie Athletc Club at the Maidan. Eco Park's roses won several prizes. Two huge trophies were brought to Hidco today br SE Supriyo Bagchi and others. Photos:

Rose Garden at Eco Park

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A clipping from yesterday's Times of India:

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Tea Bazar, Sangeet Mela

In Eco Park, a tea garden has been set up.This is between gate number 3 and 4. Saplings are being tended. On a space opposite to it, we are planning to set up a "Tea Bazar" that will not only display and sell a variety of tea leaves but also serve hot and cold tea of various types. There will be displays on history of tea and various information on processes and types of tea. I will seek the help of Tea Board too. Here are two photos of a make-shift model to try it out:
* * *
I have requested I&CA Department that like last year, one venue of Sangeet Mela may be located in New Town too. I am told that they have agreed in prnciple to hold it in Rabindra Tirtha from 10-17 February 2014. I await a formal confirmation

Thursday, January 16, 2014

"Bengal Builds" on 21 February 2014

Yesterday, Minister Firhad Halim held a meeting with Credai at Unnayan Bhavan, Salt Lake. It was decided that "Bengal Builds" will be held at Milan Mela Grounds on 21st February 2014. CEO KMDA would be the nodal officer.
* * *
Here is a cutting from today's Anandabazar:

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Kanyasree Mela Held

This afternoon, the first ever Kanyasree Mela was held with great success in New Town Mela Ground. The idea was to bring all stakeholders together -the girl students, the parents, the teachers, the people's representatives, the district administration, the bankers, and the department officials. There were a gathering of more than 2,000 or so including 600 students. Bank counters were opened in the Mela kiosks and about 450 accounts were opened. This was a mop-up operation to ensure that schools in and around New Town were fully covered. In fact, the Bodhicharya school near Action Area 2 was quite uncovered earlier. There were several NGO stalls including a mobile library that spread the message of Kanyasree in various ways. Cultural performances continued through the day while formalities were being taken care of. DM, ADM, CEO NKDA, EM NKDA, BDO, CPO all did a great job. Here is a picture:
L-R: Roshni Sen, Shashi Panja, Firhad Hakim, Sabyasachi Dutta, me
* * *
Here is a cutting from today's Times of India:

[We will, however, give a slightly different interpretation of the rules once the notification is published.]

Here is a cutting from today's Bartaman:

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Plots listed for late fees

In the last board meeting of Hidco, it was decided that non-residential plots which were lying unutilized for 5 years or more would have to pay late fees. This would be in addition to any other legal steps that might be taken. The amount would be 10% of the land cost paid for each year of delay.

Accordingly, a committee was formed to review the physical status of all such plots in New Town. This was headed by the Chief Architect of NKDA. Senior Architect of Hidco was the member-convener. They recently submitted a detailed report after field verification and photographing. According to it, in a majority of plots allotted in 2009 or earlier, construction / pre-construction activities have already started. However, there are a few plots where no activity has taken place even though the plots were handed over in 2009 or earlier. Sixteen such allottees have been identified in the first phase where late fees would be demanded without prejudice to other legal actions:

Monday, January 13, 2014

Kanyashree Mela on 15th January

A unique Kanyashree Mela will be held at New Town on Wednesday. It is being organised by DM North 24-Paraganas Sanjay Bansal at our suggestion. It is being facilitated by NKDA. I will hold a co-ordination meeting with District Administration and NKDA tomorrow. Here is the card that is being distributed:

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Traffic Safety Week is being observed in New Town from today. It is being organised by Commissionarate of Police, Bidhannagar. I went to visit a camp at 11 am today morning. A picture:

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Yesterday, at Rabindratirtha, a play called Tasher Desh was staged. This is based on the dance-drama of Rabindranath but there has been some interesting modifications in the theater adaptation. I quite liked it. A photo:

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Net Metering Workshop

Yesterday, we held a day-long workshop on net metering, in the context of Solar Energy use. At Rabindra Tirtha. Dr AKTripathi, Director, MNRE, GoI , Mr Girija Shankar , Energy Economist BEE, Director WBREDA, MD NTESC and many others participated.
The idea is as follows:
To meet energy demands and for climate reasons, we must use Solar Energy as much as possible. Solar Panels in rooftops, canal-tops, ground--tops can act as virtual distributed and decentralised powerhouses to generate additional clean energy. Consumers may pay only the net electrical power consumed i.e. gross/actual consumption minus power injected into the electricity grid. The savings in power bill will encourage consumers to invest in rooftop solar plants.
I argued that this will be most attractive in new projects and towns like New Town and others since the cost of rooftop solar plants will be only marginal to the cost of construction of a new home. Dr Tripathy said that technological problems with inverters needed to inject solar power in grids have now been solved.
During lunch break, a demonstration of electric scooters was made. I drove one around the internal path of Rabindra Tirtha: it did well @ 25 kmph. It can go 50-70 km in one charge. Costs Rs 40,000+ we were told.
The electric scooter that I drove around Rabindra Tirtha pathway:
Useful for services in New Town, Salt Lake etc

Gopal Ghose, A.K.Tripathy, me, Girija Shankar, Sutanu Kar, P P Datta
* * *
I also inspected other ongoing works in New Town. The test piles of the third Bagjola Bridge had started. A photo:

Third Bagjola Bridge started:
Connecting Action Area III and II