Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Market Conference at Delhi

Today, I attended a "Market Conference" organised by the NMCG (National Mission Clean Ganga). This was held at Stein Auditorium of India Habitat Centre. More than 200 private sector technology companies participated, each projecting its prime product and engineering solutions. Foreign companies were also there. Some spoke of their modular Sewage Treatment solutions, some others spoke of bio-remediation, while few also talked of bio-toilets and innovative solutions such as use of motor boats to churn the waters to increase the BOD level through innovation. NMCG Mission Director seemed also to call for bank-plantation though NGOs and river surface cleaning by floating collecting machines.

I, on my part, thanked Union Minister Ms Uma Bharati for agreeing in principle to sanction our Project for Gangasagar (Project Cost Rs 361 cr) : the project report was submitted yesterday. I also spoke of the possibility of approaching NRIs at France and Holland for Chandannagar and Bandel. I also mentioned about taking up projects near Belur Math and Dakshineswar. I added that besides engineering interventions, we would need riverbank population to be involved and treat them as stakeholders. Union Minister seemed to agree in principle in her speech.

A selfie on my mobile:
* * *
I also met Secretary Ministry of Urban Development at Nirman Bhavan. I formally handed him over a copy of the concept plan on Smart City for New Town as drawn up by NISG (National Institute of Smart Governance). I also invited him to visit the state.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Swapno Bhor: A Seniors'Park

We are just about ready for an inauguration of the Seniors' Park which has been named "Swapna Bhor". Two computer aided photos of the actual site:

* * *
Here is a clipping from today's paper:

Ei Samay dt 27 April 2015

Friday, April 24, 2015

New Eco Carts

We procured three new eight-seat eco-carts yesterday. Two will be used by the police for security in Eco Park. One will be used at Eco-island. A photo:

* * *
Here is a clipping from today's paper:

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Cafe Ekante : Enter by Boat

On one end of Eco Park, there is the Banglar Hat where the best of Bengal handicrafts are on sale in a great ambiance amidst display of Kolkata's iconic hand-rickshaw . Opposite to Eco Park, there is Mother's Wax Museum where a lot of Bengal's icons are photographed every day by hundreds of visitors. Now at the Eco Island within Eco Park, we are setting up a stylized Bengali food joint, a joint where you can enter only by the boat (remember the first scenes of Enter the Dragon :) ) . Overlooking the 100 acre huge lake, a spectacular view will greet people as they savour the awesome 360 degree view while tasting a fine selection of the best in Banglar food.

Named Cafe Ekante, you can reach it from Eco Park by a special country boat. Boat ride ticket is deducted from your food bill at Cafe Ekante. You get choice of beverages (Chilled Gandharaj Lebur Sharbat with Mint being the star !), munchies (mochar chop, moglai paratha, even jhal muri and more), main course (desi murgir jhol, dab chingri, Koi machher Ganga Jamuna and many more), and dessert (star: nolen gurer ice cream ). AGM(Tourism) Tirtha Sadhu and his team is busy finalising the menu. We are planning to open by May.

* * *
These appeared in today's papers:
Times of India dt 23 April 2015
Hindustan Times dt 23 April 2015

Friday, April 17, 2015

Net Metered Solar Energy in Nagarayan

Nagarayan Bhavan in Salt Lake houses the Department of Urban Development. Installation of Solar Panels on its rooftop is just complete. I just went to see it with Mr Gurupada Patra, Executive Engineer and others. The solar energy produced is converted to AC and stepped up to electricity grid voltage and pumped into the grid. The energy so put in acts as a kind of decentralised generator and so saves drawal of power from thermal power plants. The energy pumped in is measured through a special Net-Meter and there is reduction in electricity bill by the amount actually pumped in in the day. A photo on my mobile:
Roof-Top Solar Panels connected to the grid through net- metering

Here are a few clippings:
Khabar 365 dt 16 Ap 15
Khabar 365 dt 17 April 2015
Ei Samay dt 17 April 2015

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

New Town Clock Tower Plaza inaugurated

The New Town Clock Tower Plaza was inaugurated today by Justice Asim Banerjee, in presence of Saurav Das IAS Principal Secretary (both of whom stay in New Town). The 2-day Barshabaran Utsav finished today at 9.30 pm with great enthusiasm and participation. A photo of the clockplaza taken today afternoon:
Talent Search was concluded at the Plaza amidst great enthusiasm
* * *
A clipping from today's paper:
Times of India dt 15 April 2015

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Organic Market Plan

Last Sunday, we held a joint inspection with Curator Parto Ghosh, GM(E) Suman Neogi, Neil Law and S Ahmed at the Entry Plaza near Gate 4 of Eco Park. We planned for a Sunday organic market where temporary stalls would sell organic vegetable, fruits, tea,honey and the like. I have seen such weekend Sunday-morning markets in many European cities. EcoPark would be a great place to have a synegy for such a market. We now need to talk to few producers of organic producers. We have planned to start in May this year although the monsoons thereafter may be a dampener.

* * *
Few clippings:

Times of India dt 13 April 2015
Times of India dt 13 April 2015
ToI dt 13 April2015

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Citizen Engagement: Sit and Draw

With the help of Artist Ashok Mallik - himself a resident of New Town - we organised a Sit and Draw competition today. There was a huge turn-out with about 200 participants and their parents on the Sunday morning. Prizes will be given on 14th April, in course of the Barshobaran Utsab (14-15 April) at Clock Tower Plaza near Home Town.  There will be talent hunt, food festival (- Paramount, Lalit Great Eastern, Tea Trove and many more - ), Bangla Band (- Rongin, Baul -), play events (- Segway, monowheel, skating - ) and lots of fun to usher in the Nabobarsho. Few pics:
Sit and Draw near Clock Tower this morning
* * *
Here are three clippings from today's papers:

Hindustan Times dt 12 April 2015

Khabar 365 dt 12 April 2015

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Eco Walk

In few places of tourist interest, I have participated in a guided walk where familiar buildings and heritage structures in city streets are explained by an experienced guide. In a like manner, we are thinking of introducing an Eco Walk from May. The Eco Walk will start from Gate 2 and will last for 90 minutes or so.

Here are a few clippings from today's papers:

Anandabazar dt 11 April 2015

Hindustan Times dt 11 April 2015
Khabar 365 dt 11 April 2015

Friday, April 10, 2015

New Town School opens at New Town

The New Town School opened today. I was invited to the inaugural ceremony. I remember the day a little more than two years ago when the land was allotted through an auction process. The architecture and facilities have come up very well.
* * *
Here is a clipping from today's paper:

Salt Lake Telegraph dt 10 April 2015

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

New Signage in Eco Park

Work of putting up new generation signages started today. A photo at Gate 1, taken on my mobile this evening:

* * *
Here is a clipping from today's paper:

Khabar 365 dt 8 April 2015
And another, few days ago:

Monday, April 6, 2015

Delegation for Industry

Hon'ble Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee took a meeting today to discuss ways in which procedures can be simplified for entrepreneurs wishing to set up industries. Besides Finance Minister, many other Ministers and Chief Secretary and several Principal Secretaries were present. With reference to Urban Development, it was decided that industries seeking exemptions will be given Urban Land Ceiling clearance within 15 days while for sanction of building plans, the procedure of referring tall buildings to Development Authorities would be delegated to respective departments for government companies/ govt sponsored companies.
* * *
Here are two clippings from today's papers:

Ei Samay dt 6 April 2015

ToI dt 6 April 2015

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Nurseries on Canal Banks

In a recent meeting in Hidco, I discussed a new model for greening certain areas of New Town. Since taking care of saplings involve watering, protecting from cattle and theft, de-weeding, pruning etc call for a set of gardeners and managers, we can create economic opportunities by engaging farms who raise nurseries for commercial purposes. In fact, in North 24-Paraganas, close to Action Area 2, there exist a series of traditional plant nurseries and more often than not greening resources of New Town are sourced from these units. In South 24-Paraganas, there are flower plantations from where much of Kolkata's flower markets draw sustenance. So we may get flowers and plants in designated areas of New Town which will green it and also be a revenue earner rather than an expense maker. For ease of getting water for the nurseries, I have thought of Bagjola Canal Bank in Action Area I where we have already initiated some plantations.
Here is a picture of a bridge being built on the Bagjola Canal in Action Area 3. As I watched on Friday afternoon, the fourth 65 ton steel girder was being placed  on the bridge pillars.

Steel girders being placed on third Bagjola Bridge
* * *
Here is a clipping from today's paper:

Khabar 365 dt 5 April 2015

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Camp Approach for Public Service Delivery

In the Land Manager's office in Urban Development Department, the Right to Public Services Act has imposed certain deadlines for delivery of services like mutation of names in leased plots of Salt Lake, assignment of land on payment of prescribes fees fees, non residential use of residential buildings as per notification (there are 40 uses permitted see post at http://principalsecretarysblog.blogspot.in/2014/08/mixed-planning.html , 20 more will be added in next week ) , mortgage permission and so on. But due to some accumulated backlog, older applications, applications filed earlier to the promulgation of the Act,  were not receiving attention. So we decided to sit down in Camp Mode with all senior officers yesterday on Good Friday (a holiday) and all of us including Mira Roy, Additional Secretary, me, Atanu Palodhi Special Secretary, Dinesh Mandal Land Manager, Debabrata Chatterjee Competent Authority, Revenue Officer and all other staff and officers sat down in the departmental section itself and disposed of many cases. We all agreed to continue the drive till all backlog was cleared. I am also in the process of engaging IT professionals and a Project Management Unit. Already we have set up a Help & Facilitation Desk with provision for on-line payment of prescribed fees. A photo:

Good Friday in UD

Friday, April 3, 2015

Mist Garden in Rain Forest

Trees in the three acre rain forest of Eco Park are fairly high now. Lot of visitors go there in the central Adda Zone plaza. In this hot summer,we are now planning to have a Mist Garden there.There will be a series of sprouts from poles that will have sprayers instead of street lights. Compressed air and fine water spray from the nozzles will produce a fog (think of a walk on Darjeeling Mall ring road) that will produce a soothing fun cooling effect without getting you wet. Work has just begun and I am told that it will be ready in a month or so.
Hon'ble Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee took a walk in Eco Park yesterday evening. In course of the walk, I showed her the site where work on Mist Garden was going on.
* * *
Here are few clippings from today's papers:
Ei Samay dt 3 April 2015
Khabar 365 dt 3 April 2015

Salt Lake Telegraph dt 3 April 2015
Times of India dt 3 April 2015

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Green Building Workshop at Eco Park

Hon'ble Minister Manish Gupta inaugurated the day-long workshop on Green Buildings. From Govt of India, Chief Planner Ministry of Urban Development, Director Building Material and Technology Promotion Council, Director Bureau of Energy Efficiency, HUDCO participated at the Glass Hall seminar. Head of Department of Architecture IIT Kharagpur, Assistant Professor IIT Mumbai, Institution of Architects, President Credai Bengal, Chairperson Indian Green Building CouncilEastern Zone and eminent Architects participated and made presentations. From State Govt, besides me, Principal Secretary  Municipal Affairs, Chief Executive Officer KMDA, CEO NKDA, Chief Architect NKDA and many others attended. A synopsis will be published on NKDA website in due course. A photo:

Surinder Gupta, B P Gopalika, me, Hon'ble Minister Manish Gupta,
K. Joardar and Sukrit Chatterjee: Welcoming speech on
 * * *
Here is a clipping from today's paper:
ToI dt 2 April 2015

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

First bank in Eco Park

ICICI bank is opening the first bank branch in Eco Park. It is in Eco Park's entry plaza. Gate 4. I saw them working this evening at Visitors'Plaza. A photo:
ICICI's Eco Park Branch: Toopen soon
* * *
At Nazrul Tirtha, we had a joint inspection with Raja Rammohan Foundation in the context of setting up a Modern Hybrid Library. A picture taken this afternoon:

I with, to my right,Dr Arun Kr Chakraborty DG RRR Library
* * *
Here are two clippings from today's papers:

Ei Samay dt 1 April 2015
Times of India dt 1 April 2015