Monday, March 30, 2015

"Peoples' University"

Dr Arun Kumar Chakraborty, Mission Director, National Mission on Libraries has written a letter stating that UNESCO has declared the Public Library as "Peoples' University". In his letter dated 23 Feb 2015, he'd proposed to set up a Modern Public Library in New Town. Dr Chakraborty and his team subsequently visited possible spaces on second/ third floor of Najrul Tirtha. Today, the Hidco Board met and agreed to rent out a portion to NML (excluding the space earmarked for Najrul Academy). . I hope to discuss further details with him shortly.
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A clipping from today's paper:

Ei Samay dt 30 March 2015

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Belle Vue to set up hospital in New Town

Belle Vue Clinic has just taken a plot in New Town for setting up a hospital. It is a  2 acre plot, located in Action Area 1. There will be a unit for trauma care too. The plot was allotted through e-auction. Earlier, Belle Vue had taken a plot in New Town for setting up a Nursing College.
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Preparations are in full swing for the Green Building Workshop  to be held at Eco Park on 2 April. Yesterday, I met Hon'ble Minister Manish Gupta for inaugurating the workshop: he has kindly agreed to do so.
Here is a brief background note:
Government of West Bengal has recently taken a decision to allow 10% extra Floor Area Ratio (FAR) for Green Buildings in 35th cabinet decision (held on 5th August 2014). The building rules are in the process of being amended. In giving effect to this policy decision, the question of defining a Green Building has arisen. Although there are a number of agencies like IGBC, TERI, GRIHA, LEED etc. all of these agencies rate a building as green with different grades (such as silver, gold or platinum), or different star rating system (such as 3-star, 5-star etc.). There are different guidelines for different rating system. It is felt necessary to devise a regulation to avoid ambiguity and to guide grant of incentives while sanctioning building plans. As all of those rating system is applicable only after the completion of the building and the Urban Local Bodies are supposed to grant that extra 10% F.A.R during the sanctioning stage (i.e. before the starting of construction work), there is no such tool to identify any building as green. In order to discuss various aspects involved, we are organizing a workshop with officials from Govt. of India, Govt. of West Bengal, stake – holders, private sector and professional organizations.

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Two clippings from today's papers:

Times of India dt 29 March 2015

Khabar 365 dt 29 March 2015

Saturday, March 28, 2015

First private sector polyclinic starts in New Town

; From NKDA, we are running a primary medical clinic at Action Area 2, near Bagjola canal crossing. Today, I was invited to inaugurate the first private sector polyclinic called Doctors & Doctors. This is located in the NBCC shopping plaza, behind Axis Mall. Specialist doctors will be available, I was told, from various disciplines. They have also tied up with a diagnostic laboratory for collection of samples for pathology tests. Incidentally, in few NKDA markets too, entrepreneurs have taken space for polyclinic while at DLF Galleria Mall, Apollo Polyclinic will open on May 2015. A photo of this morning's brief event:

First polyclinic inauguration on 28 March 2015
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The St Xavier's College is organising a 3-day international conference on Global Climate Change and Water Disasters. (27-29 March 2015). A curtain raiser event was hosted yesterday by Hidco on behalf of Minister Firhad Hakim on 27 March evening at Eco Park's Glass House. This was followed by a dinner. There were 60 delegates. Minister Firhad Hakim and I were there along with others. They visited Mother's Wax Museum and took boat ride on Eco Park Lake before the event. In the workshop Minister Firhad Hakim spoke of the need for taking care of the environment. There were delegates from "Jesuit Fathers" who are working on Climate Change. 

 Climate Change at Glass House

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Widening pathway and Deer Park starts

We 'broke ground' for two new projects in Eco Park. One is the Deer Park, which is located near the Amphitheatre / Pakhibitan, and the other is broadening 800m of internal pathways in Eco Park for making it suitable for  rubber-tyred toy trains to run in circular paths. Work started today for the first floor of Eco Park Curator office and false ceiling of rooms in Entry Plaza (Gate4 Eco Park):

Two photos
Forest department starts deer park work near Eco Park
Widening to 4m pathway: works starts in Eco Park
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Here are two clippings from today's papers:

Ei Samay dt 25 March 2015
Times of India dt 25 March 2015

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Community Hall

The Community Hall in Seniors' Park is nearing completion. I inspected yesterday to check final design of facade lighting. A picture:

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I went to see the Steel Building called Restello being built by a JVC. I was told that it was the only steel residential building in the country. I tried to understand the pros and cons of the technology and the possibility of replication. I was told that the finishing works would be completed within three monthsor so. Two photos:

Restello: the Steel Residential Building in New Town
(Top and Below) 
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A clipping from today's paper:
Times of India dt 22 March 2015

Saturday, March 21, 2015

NGRBA: Bengal tops in Completed Projects

Yesterday at Delhi, the Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources held a meeting with all five Ganga-states to review performance. We ere told that now onwards, a more Ganga-centric multi-pronged strategy would be followed with real-time monitoring of selected stretches ("hotspots",they said) where besides water quality, closed-circuit TVs would also be installed to dissuade pollutants. Bengal's model of electric crematorium - we have installed five already - was appreciated and sought to be made a model for project preparation in other states (Bihar said they'd already got a couple implemented based on the Bengal model of electric crematorium design). Among certain other things that came up were (i) Sewage Treatment would be done in two parts from now on (a) do an interception of outfalls of drains into Ganga and treat in STP (b) do the STP (Sewage Treatment Plant) first and only later the intricate network (ii) From Swachh Bharat Funds, the connectivity to a house could be financed @ Rs 4,000 per household (iii) A public noticewould be given to all Ganga-bank municipalities to give a plan for combating pollution in the river.

I give below a data given in the meeting by the Mission Directorate that shows that we top in the matter of execution of projects:
In number of projects completed, West Bengal is the leader
(Source: Agenda notes at Review Meeting on 20 March 2015
at New Delhi)
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Few clippings:
Ei Samay dt 21 March 2015

Salt Lake Telegraph dt 20 March 2015 (Top and below)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Green Workshop on 2 April 2015

The Green Building workshop will be held on 2 April 2015, we decided today. We are inviting all stakeholders. I talked to Pr Secy Municipal Affairs today and requested his presence.I am going today to Delhi for a meeting on Clean Ganga mission in the context of a probable meeting by Hon'ble PM on 26th March. In course of my visit to Delhi I will also invite few Govt of India officers and experts to the workshop.
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Here are two clippings from today's papers:

Khabar 365 dt 19 March 2015
Ei Samay dt 19 March 2015

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

ASEAN Journalists Visit New Town

Yesterday, a group of 17 journalists from various ASEAN countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam etc visited Eco Park, Wax Museum and Banglar Hat. The tour was organised by the Ministry of Externam Affairs, Govt of India. They spent several hours and were quite overwhelmed. Many took copious pictures and videos. They were particularly delighted with the Butterfly Garden and the-release-of-butterfly event, the glass house, the rose garden and the Mother's Wax Museum. Hidco gifted them a photo each with a wax model of their choice: many chose Mother Teresa and Gandhiji. Two pictures:

ASEAN journalists at Eco Park and MWM
(Picture courtesy Sanjit Sharma)
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A clipping from today's paper:
Ei Samay dt 18 March 2015

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

SGO Complex Review

I held a review meeting on the ongoing project of building State Govt Office Complex at Salt Lake, with Architect P R Das, Chief Engineering Advisor Tejen Som, EEm UD and M/s Adhunik. I realised that there were a  few issues. It was agreed that the MEP (Mechanical and Electrical Plan) would be started while  all good-for-construction drawings would be given within a month.

SGO Complex: Viewed from my office at UD Department 
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Last Monday, I chaired a session on IPCC Climate Change workshop at Oberoi Grand. Today Dr Prof Jayashree Roy emailed me a photo. Here it is:

Co-Panelist Diana Urge-Vorsatz on 9 March 2015 at Grand Hotel * *
Here is a clipping from today's paper:

Metro Telegraph dt 17 March 2015

Monday, March 16, 2015

Sit and Draw on 12 April

As a prelude to opening of the New Town Plaza, we are going to organise a Sit and Draw contest on Sunday 12th April. Artist Ashok Mullik is helping us organise it.There will be three categories. The topic will be announced on the day of the contest only. We are hoping to distribute the prizes on 15th April, Poila Baisakh Day, if possible.
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Here is a clipping from today's paper:

Hindustan Times dt 16 March 2015

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Tea Lounge

I inspected the progress of Tea Lounge in Eco Park with Suman Neogy, GM Hidco. This is located near the tea garden that is being raised (saplings are more than a foot tall already, shade trees longer). The architecture is done by noted Architect Firm Dulal Mukherjee and Associates and would resemble a Tea Garden Bungalow in appearance with wide balcony on three sides and a glass-wall dining room inside. The triangular roof structure an interiors will highlight this ambiance. We decided to make a pathway around the lounge as well as a service entrance at the rear. It is expected to be commissioned within December. A site photo:
Tea Lounge under construcion in Eco Park
It is located between the Children's Park and Tea Garden
Two pictures of the artist's impression of the Tea Lounge when completed:

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Here are a few clippings from today's papers:

The Telegraph Metro dt 15  March 2015 
Times of India dt 15 March 2015

Times of India dt 15 March 2015

Friday, March 13, 2015

Kolkata Riverfront Development Ltd: First Meeting

A Joint Venture Company between KMDA and Kolkata Port Trust was formed today. It was incorporated as a Company by the Registrar of Companies on 10th March 2015. It met today for the first time with with three directors each from State Govt / KMDA on the one hand and KoPT on the other at UD Department (Nagarayan Building, Salt Lake). This Special Purpose Vehicle will act as the Concessioning Authority for development and setting up a giant ferries wheel at Millennium Park on PPP basis and also develop supporting tourism amenities in the area.
    A photo taken just after the first Board meeting:

First Board Meeting of KRDL
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An advertisement that appeared in today's papers:

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Few clippings from today's papers:

Salt Lake Telegraph dt 13 March 2015
Khabar 365 dt 13 March 2015

(Top & Below) Salt Lake Telgraph dt 13 March 2015

Thursday, March 12, 2015

624 EWS Flats for Land Losers

624 housing flats of the EWS (Economically Weaker Section) category at Tarulia in Action Area 1 have been earmarked for allotment among land losers of the New Town project at affordable prices. The details can be seen at EOI_EWS . Brochures are available at selected bank branches. Last date of application is 30 April 2015
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Here is a clipping from today's paper:
Pratidin dt 12 March 2015

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Design Concept of Bus Terminus-cum-Commercial Centre frozen

Today M/s Egis, the design consultants gave a revised presentation of the concept of the Inter-State Bus Terminal cum Commercial Centre based on the observations made by us earlier. They have adopted a modular approach so that a ground level parking area can be dovetailed with the monorail system once that comes into being. There will be 100 bus bays, level separated arrival and departure lounges like airport arrivals and departures, retail spaces, city bus connections, a 100 room 3 star 'Ginger' type hotel, banquet halls, and a set of office complexes. They will now embark upon detailed design.

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The Kolpex 2015 was inaugurated today at Najrul Tirtha. A first day cove was published with Howrah Bridge as the theme. There was a sit and draw competition for schoolchildren. I requested the CPMG to set up a smart post office at New Town. Two pictures:

PMG South Bengal, me and CPMG Ms Arundhaty
Ghosh (Above) and opening of the philatelic
exhibition at Najrul Tirtha (below)
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Two clippings from today's paper:
Times of India dt 11 March 2015
Calcutta Times dt 11 March 2015

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Canaltop Solar Power Project

The work of 500 KW Solar Canaltop Project near Banglar Hat in Eco Park is progressing in full swing. I inspected the site recently. A photo:

Canaltop Solar Project using net metering: work in progress
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Here are few clippings:

Times of India dt 9 March 2015 (Top and below)

Anandabazar dt 9 March 2015

Khabar 365 dt 9 March 2015