Sunday, May 31, 2015

Kolkata Gate

The Hidco Board met last Wednesday and approved the design of a Kolkata Gate to be constructed by Hidco. This will be constructed at the third rotary traffic island, near Rabindra Tirtha / Hidco Bhavan.

The design was finalised by calling for submission of designs through a public notice in web sites as well as newspaper advertisements. A committee headed by Architect Dulal Mukherjee was formed which evaluated the designs from various architects from around the country. The design by M/s Vector Designs, a Pune-based architecture firm was recommended by the committee. A work order will soon be issued now that the design has been accepted by the Board of Directors of Hidco. I have asked Vector Designs to submit a time-table too so that we will know when the construction will start after going through the formalities of BOQ, RFQ, RFP, LOI etc.

Here is a picture of the design that was approved last week by Hidco Board:

Artist's Impression of Kolkata Gate to be constructed at Rabindra-Tirtha junction, New Town
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Here is a clipping from today's paper:

Times of India dt 31 May 2015

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Gitabitan Town

At Bolpur (Shantiniketan) yesterday, I had a meeting with Minister Chandrakanta Sinha, IIT Team, District Administration, Credai Bengal, Local Industrialists, Shri Jogen Choudhury MP, Sriniketan- Shantiniketan Development Authority, ILFS and others regarding setting up of a 129-acre township called Gitabitan at Shantiniketan, Bolpur. The Master Plan has been drawn up and it was exhibited to all present. A site visit was undertaken. A photo:
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A little while ago, the first branch was opened at Eco Park. I remembered the day we started talking about it and am quite happy about it. I even offered to give to ICICI a venue for holding a training for self-employment at Eco Park.

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Two clippings from yesterday's papers:

Anandabazar dt 29 May 2015
Salt Lake Telegraph; 29 May 2015

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

First Anniversary of Nazrul Tirtha

A year ago, Hon'ble Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee inaugurated Najrul Tirtha (Here is a link to my post a year ago ).

Today we celebrate its first anniversary through a tribute to the poet and a cultural function.
In the year that passed by we have had interesting plays (Manoj Mitra's, Bratya Basu's, Vijay Lakshmi Barman's etc), cultural events (folk songs, Lily Islam's, Bangladesh group song, Debarati Som's musisc, Tanusree Sankar's dance troupe, Kobita Utsav), films (Kolkata International Film Festival 2014, Char Adhyay special screening), Philatelic Exhibition, Indo-Korea-Bangladesh Taekwondo, Workshop by Ministry of Urban Development Govt of India, Educational Institution Cultural Functions (St Francis Xaviers', Kidzee,Techno India), Art Exhibition, Talent Hunt Competition and many more.

Now we are trying to hold regular Film Shows like Nandan soon.

With Mishti Kaji at Najrul Mancha
26 May 2015
(Photo courtesy Jahid Mohd)

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Here are a few clippings from today's papers:

Ei Samay dt 26 May 2015

Khabar 365 dt 26 May 2015 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Request for Information for Sustainable Smart SWM

The Request for Information has been published for developing the bid documents for an underground networked smart and sustainable solid waste collection system. This can be seen at . Here is a clipping from last Saturday's Times of India:

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Here are a few clippings:
Ei Samay dt 25 May 2015

Times of India dt 25 May 2015

Times of India dt 25 May 2015

Ei Samay dt 25 May 2015
Hindustan Times dt 25 May 2015
(Pink border by me)

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Knowledge City

Last Wednesday,on 20th May, I had a meeting with Chairman Kolkata Port Trust. This was about exploring how best to use riverside land in the mutual interests of State and Central Governments. Based on a letter written some time back by Sam Pitroda, this meeting was to explore if a knowledge city could be set up on the banks of Hoogly. For this, of course, it is first necessary to have a survey of the area. It was learnt that KoPT has already instituted a study by Jadavpur University to make a land use planning. It was opined by Chairman KoPT Mr Raj Pal Singh Kahlon that further steps forward could be taken after the planning exercise is completed.    
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Few clippings:

Khabar 365 dt 24 May 2015

Anandabazar dt 24 May 2015

Ei Samay dt 24 May 2015

Friday, May 22, 2015

Weekend Organic Market in Eco Park

In France (e.g, at Vichy, where I learnt French at CAVILAM institute), in USA (e.g., in Boston when I was on a training course at Harvard) or in Brasilia (when I was on a World Bank sponsored tour)  - and indeed in many places of the world there is the concept of Sunday markets. Since traffic is less, important roadside places are converted into makeshift stalls that are dismantled  by mid-day or by afternoon(dependson tradition).  Families themselves set out tables to sell their wares ranging from hand sketches to saplings, pancakes to farm produce and sausages to fruits.

Taking a cue, and considering that in Eco Park we are trying to gift visitors a bit of nature (think of the blue waters and green lawns, butterfly garden and orchard, rose garden and orchid tent), we have joined hands with an organisation to cater to a weekend organic market where people will be able to buy organic produces from reputed sources. This will be located in Gate 4 of Eco Park from tomorrow and will be open on Saturdays and Sundays . We are all set to start the Weekend Organic Market from tomorrow.

The first 30 days will be our Trial Period. The Event will be from 3:00 PM to 8:00 PM.
As of now the following organizations have confirmed their participation:

(1) ONganic- F & V (Organic Fruits &Vegetables)
(2) ONganic - Groceries (Organic Red/ Black/ Brown Rice, Pulses, Honey, Ghee) and Books on Organic Farming
(3) ONergy/ SwitchON - Solar Products
(4) Marg Darshak - Diversified Jute Products
(5) Margdarshak - Fabric Products
(6) TITLI : Vermi Compost
(7) Yogita BioFarming: BioPesticides, Groceries
(8) Rainbow Organics: Organic Food Products, Herbal Products, Herbal Cosmetics.
(9) Uttirna Jute Cluster: Handmade Paper Products, Terrakota Products, Kantha Stitch Products
(10) Sudharma Krishi Consultants: Green Gifts, Urban Gardening, Modular Garden
(11) Kalighat Society for Development Facilitation- Jute Handmade Paper,
(12) Tapaswini Mahila Silpi Development Facilitation- Honey,  Organic Dairy Products, Embroidery Products, Solar Products
(13) Food & Food: Organic Food Products
(14) Humble Bee: Awareness on Organic Products
(15) Sonali ( Will join from next week, started negotiation)
(16) GreenTech Agro Revolution (Will join from next week, started negotiation)
(17) Organic Innovation (Will join from next week)

A promotional picture done by our collaborators:

See for more details and updates.

Ms Keya Seth (right) of Keya Seth's Medi
Spa at opening of Organic market
at Eco Park Gate 4

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I went to Siliguri yestrday, returned today morning. The official visit was for site inspection of the public town project (Teesta Town) at Siliguri. Minister Gautam Deb, CEO SJDA, Chief Town Planner UD and Credai Siliguri members and I inspected the site. Next week, I plan to visit the site of Gitanjali Town project.

Few clippings:
The Statesman (Siliguri edition) dt 22 May 2015
Bartaman dt 22 May 2015

Ei Samay dt 22 May 2015
Uttarer Saradin dt 22 May 2015

Anandabazar (Siliguri) dt 22 May 2015
Abz dt 22 May 2015

Khabar 365 dt 22 May 2015
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Here is another clipping from today's paper:

Anandabazar dt 22 May 2015

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Online Building Plan Sanction in New Town

In a press release of Government of India published recently on 22 April 2015, it has been mentioned that the only urban body is West Bengal to already have introduced on-line building plan sanction is for New Town Kolkata in NKDA. Here is the link: .

In the Smart New Town, the on-line building sanction process has been going on since years. There is no manual sanction. Digital signatures and AutoCAD software are used. The procedure is explained in .
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Yesterday, Hon'ble Ministers Subrata Mukherjee and Firhad Hakim jointly reviewed the progress of the 100 mgd (million gallons per day). Water Supply project that would bring water from Hoogly to New Town Water Treatment Plant. The treated water will be distributed to New Town, Salt Lake, South Dum Dum, Naba Diganta and Haroa as per the following formula: New Town 61 mgd,  Salt Lake 20.5 mgd, Haoa 11 mgd, Nabadiganta 5 mgd and South Dum Dum 2.5 mgd. Costs would be shared on this proportion too. Water charges on actual intake would also be paid by various urban bodies to cover O&M expenses. MLA Sujit Bose, Chairperson Bidhannagar Krishna Chakraborty, Senior Hidco and PHE engineers and railway officers and agency Simplex were present...It was agreed that the railways would give final permission for underground pipe laying near Hoogly intake jetty near Tala bridge in a month's time and the trial water supply would start by August 2015...So far, pipe laying of 6 feet diameter pipes  for 9.6km has been completed out out 10.5 km. A map:

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Here is a clipping that came to my notice now:

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tea Lounge

I visited the site of the Tea Lounge being built in Eco Park near Tea Garden (in between Gates 3 and 4). The structure is taking shape. The resemblance with the designed drawing of Architects Dulal Mukherjee Associates was quite striking, I thought. Hope to make it operational by October this year.

Actual Photo on my iPhone at Site on 18 May 2015

Designed drawing of Tea Lounge

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Here are a few clippings:

Khabar 365 dt 18 May 2015

Ei Samay dt 18 May 2015

Khabar 365 dt 18 May 2015

Times of India dt 18 May 2015

ToI dt 18 May 2015

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Trial of Mist Garden

While not fully operational, the mist garden had a trial today. It will require another week to be operational. But still there was a bit of Darjeeling today evening at Eco Park's Rain Forest. A photo:

17 May 2015

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Here is a clipping:

Khabar 365 dt 17 May 2015

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Smart Solid Waste Collection

In the Smart City Plan prepared by NISG (National Institute of Smart Governance) for New Town, there has been a plan for the first ever Smart Solid Waste Collection through underground network. It is called "Underground Vacuum Systems for Sustainable Waste Handling".

The idea is that while water supply, waste water, power cables, optical fibre cables, telephone cables etc all go through an underground network system, solid waste is still collected through trucks from residential zones from vats or other common storage points. These vats / storage points are often unhygienic and roadside dustbins remain unemptied and dirty especially during the day after a morning clearance.

 The smart solution for solid waste collection consists of laying underground pipes through which air is sucked out like a vacuum cleaner for transporting wastes from source to destination. There is also a system of compaction so that from an underground end-point, the compacted output is taken away by trucks in tanker-like containers without any spillage. These networks can connect to apartment chutes as also from public dustbins. Trucks thus have to travel much less, releasing traffic load from city roads. The Eco Park is getting more and more visitors and food / packing wastes overflow in peak winter days so that cleaning vats have had to enter twice a day even last season. This issue will be more pronounced in coming years. So an underground solid waste collection system is very much suited for Eco Park.

We had a discussion with an expert engineer from Bangalore today and learnt that such an underground collection system is in operation for long at Wembley City area in London, Stockholm, and many other places of the world. On a smaller scale,  GIFT city in Ahmedabad is also trying it out. We decided to publish a Request for Information from turnkey solution providers for Eco Park as a pilot scheme, A photo taken in Hidco today:

CE NKDA, Mr A R Shine, Expert from Bangalore, me, CEO NKDA,
GM Hidco and EE NKDA at Hidco Bhavan on 16 May 2015
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Here is a clipping:
Ei Samay dt 16 May 2015

Friday, May 15, 2015

Cafe Ekante, Ekante Cottage, Coal Bhavan and Mizoram Bhavan in New Town

Cafe Ekante was formally launched this evening. Minister Firhad Hakim, MLA Sujit Bose, various media-persons and senior officers of Hidco / NKDA had their first dinner at Cafe Ekante. The ambiance was great, the food was awesome and the experience was unforgettable. Here is a pictur of the hoarding graphic that we started putting up in many place from today:

At 2 pm today, Hon'ble CM inaugurated the new Coal India Bhavan at New Town. The Bhavan is located beside Nazrul Tirtha. A photo from my iPhone:

 At 4 pm, CM Mizoram inaugurated Mizoram House at New Town. This is located opposit to Rabindra Tirtha. The programme was mostly in Mizo language. A photo with a selfie inset:

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Here are a few clippings:
Khabar 365 dt 15 May 2015

Salt Lake Telegraph dt 15 May 2015