Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Markets in New Town

Today was the last day for buying brochures for applying for shops or stalls in three markets of New Town. The last date for depositing filled-up forms is on 15th May. Even now, 138 applications have been deposited in the banks against a total of 101 shops / stalls available. The number of forms purchased is 6,207. Let us see how many of these are deposited within the deadline.
I visited the IA block market today. It is complete in almost all respects. Here is a photo:

Market awaiting allotment.
Picture taken today
* * *
A theatre workshop on a rare form of martial arts is being organised in Rabindra Tirtha by a theatre group of Kolkata. They have taken a hall on hire. A photo:

Theatre workshop in Rabindra Tirtha
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Here are two clippings:

Times of India dt 29.4.2014

Sunday, April 27, 2014

LED Street Lights

New Town is a Solar City. It is trying to be a smart, environment friendly town. Zero carbon emission is a target that it likes to keep in view. In keeping with this vision, we have already started installing LED street lights in t-h-i-r-t-y kilometres (30 kms) of New Town. I took this picture this evening in Street No. 787 which is lit be LED street lights:
LED Street Lights in New Town
(On the far left, coloured lights of Banglar Hat are also of LED)
Recently, I discussed with Chief Engineer (Electrical) of HIDCo on the relative merits of LED lights. We jotted down a few points. Here are these:
- Lifecycle cost of LED street lights are less than traditional Sodium Vapour (those golden yellow lights) ones.
- Light from LED is white, day-like and so looks brilliant.
- Heat generated is much less from the light sources.
- All shades of colour can be easily generated in LED lights (think of LED TV and look at Banglar Hat facade lighting in Eco Park - partially seen in the photograph above)
- LED street lights produce 125 lumens of light for every watt of electrical energy consumed. For Sodium Vapour lamps it is 100 lumens per watt. System efficiency is 85% for LED, only 50% for Sodium Vapour lamps.
-LEDs are more environment friendly in terms of components as CFLs etc contain mercury, lead etc.
- At the end of their life, LEDs start getting dimmer instead of suddenly stopping to work like filament lamps and all others. This gives space to replace and avoids emergencies,

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Sluice for Eco Lake

Even in this peak hot summer afternoon, I along with a team of senior engineers of Hidco and KMDA inspected various sites of Eco Park. We decided after site inspection and on-site meetings that :
(1) We will complete the amphitheatre near Food Court / Banglar Hat before the monsoons
(2) We will commission partially a part of the Sculpture Park before the Pujas
(3) We will start a toy train service in Eco Park before the Puja Season.
(4) We will complete the sluice gate at the far south end of Eco Park before the monsoons so as to prevent water-logging in Eco Park even in the monsoon season. A photo of the sluice works in progress:
Sluice gate connecting Eco lake with canal
(Even at 41 deg, our site visit lasted for two and a half hours today)
* * *
A team of three engineers from NKDA visited Navi Mumbai to see mechanised Solid Waste Management. I held a debriefing session with them at NKDA today. We decided that we will design our own facility tuning the Mumbai idea. A photo taken by the visiting NKDA team:
Composting Plant at SWM site of Navi Mumbai
* * *
Here is a cutting from Times of India of yesterday:

Monday, April 21, 2014

UD & UD : Race to Nazrul Jayanti

Today I visited two projects :

1. Nazrul Mancha: This is situated in Rabindra Sarobar Lake. It belongs to KIT but the project is being done by KMDA. Nazrul Mancha was earlier called Mukta Mancha: but it could not beat the heat of the summer. So the renovation and air conditioning is being done.

2. Nazrul Tirtha: This is located in New Town. It is being built from a green field on a plot adjoining DLF-I building. Besides an auditorium, there will be museum, research zone, etc.

Both projects are Urban Development Department projects (KMDA and HIDCO). Both are trying to catch the 25 May 2014 Najrul Jayanti deadline. Both are maintaining day to day targets. I discussed in details with engineers of both projects at site. I wished success to both teams. Here are four photos:

Nazrul Mancha (Inside), Rabindra Sarobar

Nazrul Tirtha (inside), New Town

Nazrul Mancha (Front)

Nazrul Tirtha (side)
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Here is a clipping from today's Khabar 365:

Friday, April 18, 2014

Bacteria Induced Aerobic Windrows Composting for SWM

I'd initially missed seeing the episode. Few of my facebook friends suggested that I see Satyameva Jayate's TV episode on Solid Waste Management. I saw it later in You Tube. Pritam Thakur of NKDA contacted Dr S R Maley and invited him to Kolkata. Dr Maley had appeared in the TV episode. After site visits, he met me, NKDA officers and, later, Minister Firhad Hakim. We learnt of the appropriate technology for Solid Waste Management (..."no magic-box complicated solutions", said Dr Maley...) was based on bacteria induced accelerated aerobic windrows under controlled conditions. I decided to send a small team of engineers (Abin De & Somnath Kundu of NKDA) to Navi Mumbai next week to see the process and take further action thereafter. Here is a photo of Dr Maley with us at Hidco:

Gopal Ghosh, me, Dr S R Maley, Amit Basu, Abin De, Pradip Guha and
Somnath Kundu: 17th April, Hidco Bhavan

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

US Management Officer Visits Hidco

Cory D.Wilcox, Management Officer, Consulate General of US in Kolkata paid an introductory visit to Hidco today. I invited him to visit Eco Park some day. A photo in my office chamber after the meeting:

Me with Cory D. Wilcox today
* * *
Here is a clipping from today's Khabar 365:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Poila Baisakh in New Town 1421

At Rabindra Tirtha, we celebrated "Hey Nutan" this afternoon. Residents of New Town performed with enthusiasm. A photo taken a while ago:
Mrinalini Biswas doing a performance (Anjali Laho Mor...)
* * *
In the morning, I was the Chief Guest for a regional workshop on use of National Urban Information System developed by National Remote Sensing Centre. This focuses on making master plan of towns and cities using satellite maps and the Bhuvan Software. Twenty-one participants from Kolkata, Durgapur, Siliguri, Jharkhand and other places participated. It was held at the Regional Centre of NRSC in Kolkata at New Town (near Home Town building). A photo:

* * *
A new food kiosk was opened today by the Forest Department in Bamboo Garden in Eco Park. A photo:

* * *
A new gate connecting Children's Park with Formal Garden was opened to public today at Eco Park. A photo:

The iconic tree house of Children's Park can be seen beyond the
new Gate connecting formal garden with Children Park
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There was a trial run of a floating jetty newly fitted with a 40 HP engine. A photo:
Floating Movable Jetty: Trial

Saturday, April 12, 2014

176 EWS Flats Ready

We had set upon ourselves to complete construction of 176 flats for the Economically Weaker Section by Paila Baisakh. These are at Tarulia mouza on the outskirts of Action Area I of New Town. There were multiple issues that needed attention. The position of electric meters was a problem since now apparently rules discourage fixing of meters under the staircase - the usual position - on ground floor. The water pump needed to be located outside the campus. Some border disputes were delaying construction of bondary wall.
Little by little, these obstacles were removed and today when I visited the site with a team of engineers, I was told that the constructions were complete in all respects. Here is a photo:
After Alaka and Balaka, another 176 flats in New Town
* * *
Here are two clippings from today's papers:


Telegraph Metro

Friday, April 11, 2014

Corporate Social Responsibility : Quick compliance by Hidco Board

For past several years, Hidco has been traditionally making plan investments in the neighbourhood villages of New Town. Such works include village roads, drinking water tube wells, street lights, bridges and culverts. It has also been making and allotting dwelling units for the Economically Weaker Sections of the society. Of late, it has been also taking up initiatives for the girl child / elderly (Kanyashree Mela, Senior Citizen Mela), developing rain forest, herbal garden, butterfly garden etc (Eco Park)  and doing a project for the elderly (Seniors' Park) in New Town. All these have been mentioned earlier in this blog (search, if you wish, at the box on top left of this page).

Now Government of India in the Ministry of Corporate Affairs has in its notification number 1/15/2013-CL.V dated 27.2.2014 declared that Section 135 of Companies Act 2013 will come into force from 1.4.2013. Incidentally, the old Companies Act 1956 is being replaced by the new Act that received the President's assent last year.

Section 135 deals with Corporate Social Responsibility. It has made mandatory for all companies satisfying certain criteria to invest 2% of its average net profit of last three years for CSR. Hidco, a government company under the Companies Act, comes within the purview of such companies. Permitted CSR activities have also been laid down. Some of these are:

1. Eradicating poverty.
2 Preventive health care
3. Promoting gender equality
4. Setting up old age homes, day care centres and facilities for senior citizens
5. Rural development projects
6. Reducing inequalities faced by socially and economically backward groups
7. Ensuring environmental sustainability, ecological balance, protection of flora and fauna, agroforestry etc.
(There are several other items too in Schedule VII).

In its Board meeting held yesterday, Hidco took the first step in complying with the CSR responsibilities imposed by new Companies Act 2013 by forrming a 3-member Committee of Directors as follows:

1. Debashis Sen, Chairman
2. Ananda Ganguly, Director (Engineering)
3. Dulal Mukherjee, Director

Shri R. Ghosh, Company Secretary will be the convenor.
* * *
Here are three clippings:

Today's Telegraph Metro
Today's Anandabazar

Ebela dated 9.4.2014

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Minister Visits Najrul Tirtha Site

Last Thursday, on 3rd April, Minister Firhad Hakim visited the site of Nazrul Tirtha. All of us were present. A detailed account of the progress made was informed. The apprehension of workers absenting due to Lok Sabha Elections was raised by engineers. Minister remarked that the schedule was very 'tight' and all out efforts are needed to complete on time. A photo:

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Here are a few press clippings that appeared today:

The Telegraph (Metro)

Ei Samay

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Interactive Meet in Eco Island

Till a little while ago, we were having an interactive meeting with investors who had taken plots in New Town in the last two years through an EOI process. They told us of their project action plans. They flagged a few issues. We assured we would look into it. It was quite a memorable meet for all, not the least because of the startling setting in an island. Two photographs:

* * *
Here are two clippings from today's newspapers:



Friday, April 4, 2014

Shanti Kunjo

In Action Area II, there are 64 flats being built. In two blocks. I visited the site today along with Dr Dipankar Debnath, Dr Pradeep Kumar Nemani, Ananda Ganguli ED Hidco, Mrinal Mukherji CE Hidco and Arup Ghosh GM (Engineering) Hidco. We talked about the possibility of setting up a Shantikunja where the elderly can stay in harmony with their younger counterparts. For, the idea of old age homes are becoming passรจ. The sense of isolation is too overpowering. Instead it can be a return to a modified form of mixed living, a return of sorts to the old joint family system in a colony where the first two floors are for the seniors and the top two floors are for the working family with kids. This is the theory that Dr Debnath and I explored today at Action Area II. We will draw up a Master Layout and work out the financials to see if a Shanti Kunjo project for the economically weaker elders made sense.
 A picture taken this afternoon:

Dr Debnath, Dr P.K.Nemani, me, Ananda Ganguly, Mrinal Mukherji,
Arup Ghosh (not in order of standing !)

Today's Khabar 365
Times of India dt 3.4.2014
Salt Lake Telegraph dt 4.4.2014
Anandabazar dt 31.3.2014

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

"BTI": Bacteria to combat mosquito?

Some time back, we, in consultation with the Fisheries department released some larva eating fish in various water bodies of New Town to control mosquitos. This was on top of usual spraying of anti mosquito oil through "canons" (as commonly referred to the high speed sprayers). I'd posted in this blog too (see ).

I'd requested Mr S A Baba, IAS, Secretary, Fisheries Department to depute an officer to do a systematic study on control of mosquito in New Town. Dr Sailen Biswas, Joint Director of Fisheries and Prof Dr Gautam Chandra of Burdwan University carried out field studies after an initial discussion with me and NKDA officers. Dr Chanda is a Zoologist and heads the Mosquito, Microbiology and Nano Technology research wings. He was assisted by two research students whom I met too.

I got the detailed report today. I learnt many interesting things such as (a) the mosquitos in New Town are Culex type (b) mosquitos can fly 5 km (c) in water bodies where we'd released gappi fish etc 12 days ago showed a reduction in mosquito (d) Bagjola andd Kestopur Canals were major sources of mosquitos etc.

Short, medium and long term measures have been recommended in the report. The most striking was the fact that bacteria can be used to curb mosquito menace very effectively.  Here is an extract:

"...Spraying mosquito larvaecidal agents like "Bti", Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis, a kind of naturally occurring bacterium which infects and kill mosquito larvae. These bacteria are highly selective, killing only mosquitoes and their close relatives like gnats and black flies. Formulations of Bti will only kill these types of insects and do not harm other kinds of insects, fish, birds, worms or any mammals. (Subject to concurrence of the Health Deptt).

{When Bti are eaten by the mosquito larvae, they damage the gut cells and quickly paralyze them, then kill the larvae quickly and efficiently. A moderate to heavy dose has been shown to reduce the mosquito population by one half in 15 minutes and the rest within one hour. Bti can be broadcast by hand. Bti Dosage Rates: Dunks: 1 dunk/100 sq ft of water; Lasts 30 days or more. Granules: 1 tsp. per 25 sq. ft. or 1 Tbs. per 75 sq. ft. Every 2 weeks}...."

I will write to Health Department soon.

* * *
Here are few clippings:

Ei Samay of today

Abz dt 30 March 2014