Tuesday, September 30, 2014

New Boat

A new ethnic boat arrived in Eco Park yesterday. This will get a face-lift soon. A photo.

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The Eco Island with its 22 lake facing cottages is racing to completion. Today, we invited expression of interest from interested people for operating and maintaining it:

Advertisement in today's papers
An excerpt from The Telegraph:

Sunday, September 28, 2014

New Office of Curator in Eco Park

Last Tuesday, the new office of the Curator of Eco Park was commissioned. Set on the waterfront, beside the Musical Fountain, the view from inside is quite spectacular. A souvenir shop will also be opened there shortly. Photos:

Office of Curator(EP)
Inaugurated on 23.9.2014 
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Yesterday, the fourth issue of the in-house quarterly journal was published. Kudos to Sanjit Sharma and others involved:
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Two clippings from today's Times of India:

ToI, 28.9.2014, p1

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Hidco Board agrees to Wipro request

On 9th Sep 2014, Wipro sent a letter to Hidco indicating that they would be willing to take forward their project for which they had been given an allocation of 50 acres of land in Action Area 3 of New Town in 2009. They have agreed to pay the balance amount of land cost (75%). However they have requested that for this the Delayed Payment Charges may be waived.

The letter was discussed with due seriousness. The State Government was also consulted. In view of the spin-off and multiplier effects, the Hidco Board agreed on 25th Sep (day before yesterday) to waive of the DPC as prayed for by Wipro in the overall public interest.

I think this is a very positive development. The 50 acre project development of Wipro will go a long way in Bengal's economic growth, creation of job opportunities and making New Town an IT destination.
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Here is a clipping from today's Times of India:

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Here is a clipping from August 2014 issue of Urban News Digest:

Friday, September 26, 2014

Hidco allots 10 acre land to Amity University

The Board of Hidco met yesterday. Based on an e-auction held recently, a plot of 40,371 sq metres (about 10 acres) was allotted to Amity University. The site is located in Action Area 2, not far from the site of Alia University (under construction by HRBC).The joint measurement of the plot will take place today. Mr Atul Chauhan, Chancellor, told me that they would try hard to start the session next year.
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On behalf of the East Kolkata Wetland Authority, a group of senior officers and members of EKW board visited Nalban Food Park now being maintained by the Fisheries Department. The idea was to find out how to give a facelift to the area without violating environmental norms. A group photo at the end of the visit yesterday morning:
Present are:
S.A.Baba, me, Bonani Kakkar, Chandan Sinha, Surinder Gupta,
A. Mathews, MD SFDC, DS Fisheries and others
at Nalban Food Park

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We had a brainstorming session yesterday on issues relating to introduction of battery operated three wheelers in New Town. Manufacturers, bankers, engineers and WBREDA were present. The meeting was organised by NKDA whose board had resolved to have white vehicles with a blue stripe. Manufacturers agreed to adhere to the colour scheme. Bankers agreed to consider loan up to 85% to prospective individual buyers. Director WBREDA suggested setting up few public charging stations (I recalled that in New Town we already have pre-paid electric meter facility). Cost of a vehicle ranged from Rs 1.05 lakh to Rs 1.20 lakh. A picture:
Brainstrming session with stakeholders:
battery autos after Pujas in New Town?
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Here is a clipping from yesterday's Khabar 365:

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Meetings of the Sector Committees

Last Monday,on 22nd, the Sector Committee on Urban Infrastructure and Housing met at 7pm at the Board Room of Hidco Bhavan. All members attended. Mr Harsh Neotia and Mr B.P.Gopalika, Pr Secretary, Municipal Affairs Department were co-opted as members.Othr members are Alapan Bandyopahyay (Vice Chairman), Harsh Patiodia (co-Chairman), Rahul Saraf, Sanjay Jhunjhunwala, Sumit Dabriwal, Sushil Mohta, Rana Gupta and Utsav Parekh,  All members participated and a lively discussion took place and a two page note was agreed for being placed to the steering committee by Friday. It was decided that the next meeting would be held at Eco Space at 6pm on 13th Oct 2014.

Today evening, the sector committee on Financial Services met. Karan Paul the Co-Chairman and I discussed various issuesat length at Hidco Bhavan. Mr Debanjan Mandal and Mr Sunil Kanoria were co-opted as members. Mr C.S.Ghosh of Bandhan was identified as a start speaker on 6-7 Jan 2014 Global Summit. The contents of the note to Steering Committee was discussed. The committee would meet next on 15th Oct 2014 at Park Street at 6pm.
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Here is a photo of the bus that carried the tourists yesterday for the sightseeing tour:

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Here are few press clippings:
Today's ToI
Top & bottom: Khabar 365 dt 24.9.2014

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sightseeing Tour

Here is a clipping from today's Ei Samay:

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(Later, dated 23.9.2014)

Here are two clipping's :
HT dt 23.9.2014

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Review of Performance by Chief Minister

At Town Hall yesterday Chief Minister Hon'ble Mamata Banerjee took a review of department-wise and district-wise performance. A picture from my mobile:

A related clipping from today's Ei Samay (my circles):

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We are launching the first sight-seeing tour from day of Mahalaya (tuesday). From Entry Plaza of Eco Park. We finalised the route and times yesterday evening. A trial run will take place on Monday.
A picture of the leaflet that will be given to the tourists is given below. This, however, will be slightly edited:

The route:
Entry Plaza, Eco Park - Mandir - Finance Centre - Eco Space - Artes Acre - Hazra Kalibari - Tree Bank - Upasana Sthal - Najrul Tirtha- Rabindra Tirtha- Eco Park.

Tickets: Rs 150 per head including all entry fees. Available on spot (Entry Plaza). This sightseeing tour will take place once every Sunday. And on the 3 Puja Days. Each tour would last about 2 hr 30 minutes

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Anandabazar dt 20.11.2014

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Health Card to NKDA drivers

I went to NKDA today morning to see Viswakarma Puja idol at NKDA. Taking advantage of the  Viswakarma puja, NKDA made he alth cards for all drivers of NKDA. This is a helath insurance card where each driver has to pay only Rs 30 per year an they are guaranteed paybacks for certain amounts on account of death even (natural / non-accidental), serious diseases (cancer etc) and even for various issues like childrens' education, marriage ceremony etc. This was done in co-operation with labour department. I very much appreciated the initiative taken by Gopal Ghosh CEO NKDA and Achintyababu in wading through complex procedures to ensure that benefits reach the drivers of cars used by the office. A photo:

Social Scheme for Drivers of NKDA: handing over cards
L-R: Gopal Ghosh, me, Pradip Roy, one driver getting card
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In the afternoon, Country Director and a team of World Bank took a boat cruise in Hoogly River to see schemes of Clean Ganga under NGRBA. A photo:

Soma Ghosh Moulik, Onno Ruhl, Gennevie Connors,me, Indrani Saha
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A clipping from Labanhrad Sanbad:

Monday, September 15, 2014

Chennai Road Show

Writing from Chennai airport. Boarding to start in 5 minutes. Turnout was quite interesting. Several South India based banks. Insurance companies and NBFCs attended and asked questions after my presentation. Minister was unable to go ; a video message from him was played on his behalf. I will post few photos / clippings tomorrow after I reach Kolkata.
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ET, Chennai, dt 16.9.2014

HT dt 15.9.2014

Times of India 
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(Later: 23.9.2014)

Anandabazar dt 23.9.2014

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Motion detector switch in Hidco Bhavan installed: another smart step

I was a bit surprised to see that the lights in my office chamber at Hidco Bhavan were not switched on when I pushed open the door this morning. But as soon as I entered and started going towards my table, the lights came on on their own for one half of the office chamber. When I reached my table, the other half too lit up. I was told that Chief Engineer (Elec) S P Chatterjee had installed these infra red motion detectors yesterday while I was in Delhi. This was based on a discussion taken in one of the recent weekly meetings where I talked of conserving street lights through motion detector devices. Here is a picture of the ceiling mounted device (there are two in two halves of the room):

Motion detector in Hidco
(the round one)
I looked up the web to understand how this works. Here is an excerpt from Howstuffswork:

The "motion sensing" feature on most lights (and security systems) is a passive system that detects infrared energy. These sensors are therefore known as PIR (passive infrared) detectors or pyroelectricsensors. In order to make a sensor that can detect a human being, you need to make the sensor sensitive to the temperature of a human body. Humans, having a skin temperature of about 93 degrees F, radiate infrared energy with a wavelength between 9 and 10 micrometers. Therefore, the sensors are typically sensitive in the range of 8 to 12 micrometers.
The devices themselves are simple electronic components not unlike a photosensor. The infrared light bumps electrons off a substrate, and these electrons can be detected and amplified into a signal.
You have probably noticed that your light is sensitive to motion, but not to a person who is standing still. That's because the electronics package attached to the sensor is looking for a fairly rapid change in the amount of infrared energy it is seeing. When a person walks by, the amount of infrared energy in the field of view changes rapidly and is easily detected "
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Today Finance Minister Amit Mitra, Chief Secretary Sanjay Mitra, ACS(Commerce) C M Bachhawat, ACS(Power) Gopalkrishna, Pr Secretary (Health) Malay De, Pr Secretary (IT) Satish Tewari, Pr Secretary (Finance) H K Dwivedi, Pr Secretary (MSME) Rajiv Sinha, MD WBIDC Krishna Gupta and others visited Eco Pak in the morning and held a meeting in Glass House. This was a follo-up meet of the industry-diplomat meeting of Hon'ble Chief Minister held on 11th Sep.
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A new bank branch opened at Hidco Bhavan compound today. This is a result of sustained efforts of CFO Samaresh Mitra. An earlier security building was converted into a two storied building and modifications made to make the ground floor suitable for banking. The ATM counter will soon be opened. A photo (courtesy Subhashis Gupta):
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Two clippings:
Ei Samay dt 12.9.2014

Times of India dt 12.9.2014

Friday, September 12, 2014

Smart City Conclave

The Smart City Conclave at Vigyan Bhavan took place in two parts. In the forenoon session, Principal Secretaries of various states interacted with Secretary MoUD on a draft concept paper. In the second half, Union Minister Venkiah Naidu interacted with Ministers and officers. From Bengal, since Minister UD was unable to come for the by-elections, I represented the state.

The concept paper talked about certain condition precedents that must be satisfied by the cities before being considered smart. The 100 smart cities would largely be allocated to the states on population basis (one satellite city for the 4 metros, one for each state capital, etc). The concept paper can be seen at MoUD_Smart City . I said we'll examine in details and get back with our views.

MoUD also decared that a "Clean India"campaign would be launched on 2nd October this year and would run for 5 years.

Photo: At Vigyan Bhavan
At Vigyan Bhavan this morning
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Yesterday, the work on constructing a pedestrian bridge at the rear of Eco Island started. This will be meant mostly for the services. Some important events are being planned in Nov 2014 - Jan 2015.A photo:

Breaking coconut for bridge to Eco Island

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Amphitheatre to be Inaugurated on 22nd September

A large designed amphitheatre in Eco Park is now ready for inauguration. Artfully conceived, the semi-circular open gallery can hold up to 2,000 people. The stage-greenroom complex is, as if,  'floating' on water. The adjoining food gallery has interesting brick-twisted pillars that I have not seen elsewhere. The whole construction has has been done by KMDA with the leadership of Chief Engineer Priyatosh Bhattacharya. The amphitheatre will be inaugurated by Minister Firhad Hakim on 22nd September 2014 at 5 pm. Here is a picture:

Amphitheatre: Near Banglar Haat / Food Court of Eco Park
(Photo courtesy Sanjit Sharma)

The same day, Minister will also be requested to flag off a special sightseeing tour from Eco Park. This will operate on Sundays to start with. It will leave Eco Park at around 4-5 pm and take tourists to Rabindra Tirtha, Najrul Tirtha, Financial Hub, Artes Acre and Hajra Kalibari, besides showing around the sculptures and other attractions of New Town. The tour will be on bus and the ticket fee is being worked out. I think the tourists will be back by two hours or so.
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Here is a screenshot of an article published in the internet edition of Times of India:

Monday, September 8, 2014

A Special Exhibition by the Mentally Challenged

Today, on behalf of NGO Turning Point, Ms. Ishita Sanyal, the founder secretary of Turning Point, met me at Hidco Bhavan and talked about the possibility of holding an exhibition of products made by mentally ill people. After a detailed discussion, I suggested that the hall in the new entry plaza of Eco Park could be used for the purpose. The idea was that products like stone jewelry etc made by the beneficiaries will be put out for sale. On site demonstration would also  also take place. We decided that the exhibition could be done jointly by Turning Point in collaboration with Hidco and that it could be held after the Pujas.
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Here are two clippings from today's papers:

Hindustan Times dt 8.9.2014

Khabar 365 dt 8.9.2014

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Second Investors' Meet at Chennai on 15th September

Tomorrow, I will hold an in-house meeting in the afternoon to finalise arrangements for the second investors' meet for New Town Financial Hub at Chennai. The headquarters of IOB, Indian Bank, and several other financial institutions are in Chennai. We have planned to hold a show similar to that what was held in Mumbai earlier on Monday 15th September. Minister Firhad Hakim is also expected to address the investors; meet there.

Here is a link from: Urban News Digest dt 7.9.2014 . The photo is:
Hotel Sofitel
Bandra Kurla Complex
1st Sep 2014

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I went to the 18th National Exhibition being held in Amrabati Park Sodpur yesterday. The State Programme Management Group has set up a stall to create awareness among people on the need clean the Ganga. A photo:

Clean Ganga: Stall at Sodepur
6th Sep 2014
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Friday last, I was invited to inaugurate the pre-Puja sales exhibition at the Chowringhee Sales Emporium of the Govt of India's Cottage Emporium. A photo:

With Addl Commissioner of Handicrafts
At  Cottage Emporium
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Few clippings:

Telegraph Metro dt 6.9.2014

Ei Samay dt 6.9.2014

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Namami Gange

Writing this from Delhi Airport. Just had a meeting with Union Minister of Water Resources Uma Bharti.She was wearing saffron clothes and offered us tea. Us means Principal Secretaries and Poject Directors of NGRBA states.I posed to her that like the chardham scheme of Bainath/Kedarnath/Gangotri and Yamunotri, Gangasagar should also be taken up. She readily agreed.
    Before that,we had a detailed discussion with Mission Directorate of NMCG. The NGRBA would now be looked after by the Ministry of Water Resources. A Group o Secretaries had been formed whose report was placed to us. Many interesting and relevant guidelines were announced.Some were:
Operationalise old STP schemes of GAP-I / II.
Treat drains by mini treatment plants and in-situ treatment plants in modular and small scale
Make DPRs quickly
Ghat development and riverfront development
Riverbank plantations
Conservation of aquatic life
Proper treatment of flowers and puja material
Creation of a Ganga Vahini through ex-servicemen
Study of communities along Ganga
Public outreach
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Few clippings:

Times of India dt 2.9.2014

Times of India dt 1.9.2014

Abz dt 4.9.2014