Thursday, October 30, 2014

Invitation to Korean Bankers in New Town Financial Hub

I met His Excellency Mr Joon-gyu Lee, Ambassador of South Korea to India yesterday at the Indian Chamber of Commerce HQ office in Kolkata. I apprised him of our efforts to develop an International Financial Hub  in Kolkata. I sought his help in connecting with the Korean Bankers' Association. He has agreed to help. I then followed it up with a formal
email and a discussion with the First Secretary Mr Kyung Jin Park.

A photo taken yesterday on my mobile.

With HE Mr Joon-gyu Lee, AlapanBandyopadhyaya, Roopen Roy and
others at ICC on  29 Oct 2014 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Road Show at Mumbai

Just back from road show organized by WBIDC at Trident Hotel at Mumbai" s Nariman point. It was co organized by CII. I spoke on New Town Financial Hub. A photo taken by Sudip Datta of ILFS who was with me:

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Few clippings:

Times of India dt 28 Oct 2014

Anandabazar dt 29 Oct 2014
The Statesman dt 29 Oct 2014

Ajkal dt 27 Oct 2014

Abz dt 1 Nov 2014

Business Standard dt 29 Oct 2014

Monday, October 27, 2014

NGRBA meeting at Delhi

I attended NGRBA meeting at Vigyan Bhavan today. A picture:-

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Here are two clippings from today's papers:

Times of India dt 27 Oct 2014

Khabar 365 dt 27 Oct 2014

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Shantiniketan Plans by IIT Kharagpur

Last week, I held a video conference with all Development Authoroties incluing KMDA, ADDA, SJDA, HDA, SSDA etc.

SSDA gave a power-point presentation in the video conference about their on-going activities. They informed that they have tied up with the Planning and Architecture Department of IIT Kharagpur to draw up an LUDCP under the Town & Country Planning Act  (LUDCP = Land Use Development & Control Plan). The necessity for drawing a good plan is very important to preserve the heritage of Santiniketan. This has also been mandated by the Hon'ble High Court where in a recent order it has directed that in view of complaints of indiscriminate constructions in Bolpur, there should be a proper plan made which will impose restrictions and designate no  construction zones in eco-sensitive areas like Khowai lands or within the buffer zone of Shantiniketan... We were informed that the exercise was going on well and the draft zoning plan would be ready next year.
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Here are a few clippings from today's papers:

Today's Times of India

Today's Anandabazar

Today's Pratidin

Today's Times of India

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Operating Eco Resort

At the centre of the 112 acre lake of Eco Park is a 7 acre Eco Island. A glass house has already been built there and several events have been taking place, the last being a road show on Financial Hub on 27th Oct last.

Now 22 twin-cottages - each lake facing - are being built. These are moving towards completion. There are 44 beds, a central dining-cum-cafeteria and green lawns and lily pool. A discrete emergency footbridge at the back is also being constructed : this will connect a tiniest of island where a hammock strung between palm trees will be an exclusive attraction.

In order to run the Eco Cottages in the Eco Island of the Eco Park, we have invited offers from reputed hotels and tourist institutions. The idea is to let specialists run the housekeeping, catering and services for tourists. Several well known brands have already shown interest an visited the spot (we know,since they have to use out boat to get there!) . The last date of application is 30th Januray 2015. The one who gives the highest percentage of revenue in an e-auction sharing gets it for five years.

Here is a photo of the site when I visited yesterday:

Foot Bridge to Eco Resort
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Here are two clippings from today's papers:

Today's Statesman

Today's Khabar 365

Friday, October 24, 2014

Ring Road around Eco Lake starts

Last Monday, we started construction of a Ring Road around the 112 acre water body of Eco Park. This will be done in three phases: the first phase that just started will go from Rabi Aranya (near Gate 1) via View Point Jetty to the starting point of the foot bridge to Eco Island. The second phase will go further around the Lake. The third phase will be from the Curator's Office / Musical Fountain via a bridge near the new link road and then connect to phase 2 road. A picture of the ground ceremony:
Ring Road Project starts
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Here are a few clippings:

Today's Ei Samay(Top & Bottom)

Today's Times of India

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Road Show on Financial Hub in Kolkata

Last evening, we had a road show on New Town Financial Hub at the Glass House Kolkata. A number of financial institutions were represented including SBI (Sunil Srivastava, DMD), Bandhan (CMD C.S,Ghosh), ICICI (Tulika Mehra, StateHead), SIDBI (S. Ramakrishnan GM), Corporation Bank, Syndicate Bank, Indian Bank, ILFS (our TA) and Senior Hidco Officers.

I showed a video and spoke for few minutes. C S Ghosh, S Srivastava and Sudip Datta also spoke. ICICI said that they would open a bank branch at Eco Park (at Entry Plaza). I will alsoparticipat in the road show being organised by WBIDC at Mumbai on Tuesday 28th October.

A photo:

Road Show at Glass House in Eco Island: 21 Oct 2014

The Telegraph dt 22 Oct 2014

Times of India dt 20 Oct 2014

Sunday, October 19, 2014

e-Rickshaw Mela on Sunday the 2nd Nov

The Government of India has very recently, in their notification number GSR 709(E) dated 8.10.2014, defined an e-Rickshaw as follows:

"E-rickshaw means a special purpose battery operated vehicle having three wheels and intended to provide last mile connectivity for transport of passengers for hire or reward, provided,––
(i)                  such vehicle is constructed or adapted to carry not more than four passengers, excluding the driver,
(ii)                and not more than forty kilograms luggage in total;
(iii)               the net power of its motor is not more than 2000 W;

(iv)              the maximum speed of the vehicle is not more than twenty-five kilometer per hour"

Few rules and procedures have also been laid down. 

In order to bring awareness among buyers and sellers of e-Rickshaws in New Town, we are organising an e-Rickshaw Mela on Sunday the 2nd November at 12noon - 6 pm. This will be held at the Entry Plaza of Eco Park (Gate 4). I have invited Transport Department's presence as well. I have requested Minister Firhad Hakim to visit too. Here is an advertisement published recently:

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

Saturday, October 18, 2014

No Halting Zone in Digha

At Udaipur Beach, New Digha, yesterday afternoon

I went to Digha yesterday to hold a special meeting to take measures to make Digha more attractive to tourists in terms of improved services. Mr Raj Kanojia, IPS, DG(Coastal Security), Ms Antara Acharya IAS DM Purba Midnapore, SP, Executive Officer DSDA, SDO/SDPO/ BDO/OC and Subrat Biswas IFS, Project Director ICZM and others were present. We decided on the following:

1. For every 500m x 500m, a volnteer would be identified by DSDA  to clean the beach and adjoining areas in two shifts. Volunteers would also see that nobody litters, use the vats and that no encroachments take place.
2. A joint visit by police and civil officers would locate parking lots along main foreshore road. The area near Shvalik Road would be made a NO Parking / No Halting Zone where one can't stop even to get down ( I have seen this in Connaught  Place in Delhi).
3. LED street lights would be installed from Digha Gate to Ramnagar. The Digha Gate is slowly inching towards completion.
4. Udaipur beach in New Digha would be kept hawker free.
5. November 16 , 2014 will be observed by District Administration as Green and Clean Digha Day.
6. World Bank aided ICZM project has a hawker rehabilitation component. This will be expeited.

Here is a glimpse of the revamped embankment near Saikatabas:

Marble-top sitting area. Watch tower in far background built
under ICZM project. (Photo by my Sony h55 )

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Here is a clipping:

Khabar 365 dt 16 Oct 2014

Thursday, October 16, 2014

KIFF in Najrul Tirtha

I am trying to have one venue of the Kolkata Film Festival 2014 at Nazrul Tirtha. Events will start from 11 Nov 2014. There was an inspection by the technical people of I&CA Department few days ago: they appeared satisfied.
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Here are two clippings:

Times of India dt 16 Oct 2014

Sanmarg dt 13 Oct 2014

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Pedestrian Subway near Nazrul Tirtha

Yesterday, we inspected the progress of the pedestrian subway near Nazrul Tirtha / DLF in AA-1 of New Town. For the first time, we were able to cross Biswa Bangla Sarani using the subway. I was assured that the finishing works would be completed by the first week of November. A picture:

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Here are a few clippings:

Times of India dt 12 Oct 2014

Khabar 365 dt 12 ct 2014

Anandabazar dt 12 Oct 2014

Ekdin dt 12 Oct 2014

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Segway Personal Transport in Eco Park

Today, we did a trial of a Segway PT at Eco Park. It was an amazing experience riding it -  my fist time in life, one that I had only once seen earlier this year at Istanbul Airport when I was returning from Nice, France. You don't need a balance, you just lean your body to go forward or turn. Segway, of course, is a trade mark but is now almost a generic name like Xerox. It is based on gyroscopes and I remembered my college physics days. Soon it will be operated regularly after few trials by M/s Ad-Impact who will run it on PPP basis . A photo taken this afternoon:

Segway Personal Transport at Eco Park:
Another unique experience for visitors
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Here is a clipping from today's Anandabazar:

Here is an old clipping from Sanmarg:

Sanmarg dt 3 Sep 2014

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Puja Prize Distribution on 19th Oct

Hon'ble MIC (UD&MA) Shri Firhad Hakim has consented to give away prizes to winners of Durga Puja on Sunday 19th October at Nazrul Tirtha at 6pm.
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Here is a clipping from today's Times of India:

Here is a clipping from today's The Statesman:

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wi Fi New Town

We have already started work on making 10.5km of the Major ArterialRoad (now called Biswa Banga Sarani) WiFi enabled. Now, I just discussed today a while ago with a small delegation from Russia as to how the entire New Town can be made Wi Fi enabled in phases on a revenue sharing basis. This will go long way in the goal of making New Town a futuristic smart city.

A photo at my chamber in Hidco taken today:

Vivan Sehgal, me, Pyavkin and Constantino Hionides
8 Oct 2014, Hidco

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Here is a clipping from today's Anandabazar:

A clipping from yesterday's Khabar 365:

And a clipping from yesterday's Times of India:

Saturday, October 4, 2014


Yesterday, at the Upasana Sthal at New Town, protima bisarjan started. There was Dhunuchi dance performed by puja organisers. The prizes for New Town pujas were finalised and uploaded in the web: this can be seen at New Town Puja Winners 2014 . Few organisers wanted to know the results from me even while I was in the dais. A total of 25 immersions took place yesterday, several from outside New Town territory too. A picture on my camera:

Upasana Ghat
3 Oct 2014

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Smart Cities: International Knowledge Sharing

Writing this from Delhi Airport. Attended day-long seminar organised by World Bank and Ministry of Finance, Govt of India. This was on Smart Cities. Although it is Saptami today, I preferred to be away from Kolkata to see what the international experts had to say.

Right at the outset, Greg Clark warned that one should be careful of fads: some jargons that come and go have been:
Enterpreneural Cities, Competitive Cities, Liveable Cities, Sustainable Cities, Global Cities, Creative Cities, Innovative Cities, Intelligent Cities, Open Cities, Smart Cities, Future Cities, Resilent Cities, Flexible Cities etc.
Definitions of smart cities have also been pretty varied.
He concluded by saying that it is not an IT solution; rather, it is an alignment of good governance, investment, institutions and time. We all agreed to this.

Throughout the day, different speakers spoke from various angles. Korean case studies were very appropriate and I exchanged cards with a lot of them. It'd be good to get more details from them, I think. Martin Rama, Chief Economist for South Asia, World Bank came up with the rather dazzling theory of measuring productivity of cities in terms of intensity night lights per capita. Going by his analysis, Haldia is the top productive city of India. I didn't know how to react ! SMS information system for bus arrival data in real time, stressing on mixed land use, having luminous road markings, volume based garbage disposal fees with free disposal of food waste and a goal for (personal) Car Free by 2030 (Hamberg) were some of the small but clever things that can be done easily.

A picture on my mobile:

Seminar on Smart Cities
Hotel Taj Mansingh, Delhi, 1 Oct 2014
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Here is a clipping from  Khabar 365:
Khabar 365 dt 1.10.2014