Friday, July 31, 2015

Eco Park in Brazil

Returned to India: writing this in Delhi Airport, waiting to Board the 2.15 pm flight. On checking the mailbox, I find that there is a request from a Brazilian TV Team that wants to take a video shoot in Eco Park for their show. I am, of course, happy to allow. The Brazilian TV show is called "O Mundo Segundo Os Brasileiros" (The World According to the Brazilian).
* * *
(Later, on 2 Aug afternoon):
The Brazilian photographer with us (Tirtha Sadhu, me, Partho Ghosh
and Suman Neogy) at Eco Island on Sunday 2nd Aug 2015

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Day 4: Royal Court of Justice

Today I, along with Rishikesh Chanda of British Deputy High Commission went to the Royal Court of Justice's new building at Rolls Building. This was commissioned in 2011 to decongest the High Court of London. We had an intensive visit of the premises that has two parts: the offices of law firms on the one hand and commercial courts, consultation rooms, court staff office and court rooms on the other hand. There are faclities for inter room video conferences as well as remote videos for witnesses etc located anywhere else. All court proceedings are audio recorded and archived with real-time annotations reg who spoke etc.In the six floors, the fourth floor is not accessible to the public as judges sit there. The ground floor has security screening facilities with x-rays and DFMDs as well as counters to file documents, pay fees etc. I inquired about the financial viability and came to know of the revenue sources: the whole matter is self sustaining. To my mind, the new premises in the New Town Financial and Legal Hub will be fashioned on this model. The preliminary EOI on financial modelling should be out within next month.
Two pictures:
With Robin Bolton of HM Courts and Tribunal

Rolls Building, Fetter Lane
London EC4A 1NL

We will start our return journey to Kolkata shortly today.

Day 3 London: Digital Waterfall and City of UK

In the morning, I along with Rishikesh Chanda of British Dy High Commission went around various sites of London where Jason Bruges, MoU partner had made art installations. The unique point in their creative works is that these are technologically driven. Here are two pictures taken this morning at Olympic Village (near Westfield Mall) :
Digital Fountain: there is no water

L-R: Jason Bruges, me, Richard Howarth:
digital fountain
Plaque on another installation
* * *
In the afternoon, we went to the City of London and met Mr Giles French and Peter Simons, We invited the Lord Mayor of the City of London to come to BGBS 2016 on 7-8 January 2015 at Kolkata. We explained the manner in which the Kolkata Financial Hub had been progressing with almost 20 institutional investment. We also invited them to participate and also hold a workshop during that visit. They gave their version on how best to transform the Financial Hub into a bustling activity zone.

Few photos:

L-R: Giles French, me, Peter Simons
Guildhall, the 800 year old building, houses the
City of London: the Financial Centre
* * *
Few clippings:
Ajkaal dt 30 July 2015

Khabar 365 dt 29 July 2015

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Day 2 London: Electric Buses and Smart Cities

Alongwith Chief Secretary Sanjay Mitra, Trsnsport Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyaya, CP Surajit Prokayasthya, we went to TfW (Transportation for London) and had a detailed briefing from five detailed presentations. There were many things that struck me as doable in Kolkata/ West Bengal context. Some are:
* Congestion tax and its rationale
* Using raised islands used normally for traffic management as paths across which pedestrians cross any which way
* Use of contactless debit cards for bus-train-ferry tickets (I thought we could speak to banks and make use of it in Eco Park, Wax Museum etc)
* Command and Control systems in operation: this is essentially co-location of Police, Bus/ Traffic and Fire / Disaster Management personnel in one hall, monitoring CCTV feeds to take floor co-ordinated corrective actions. This is used in many smart cities across the world.
* Regular information pushing through twitter etc. In the Control Centre, I even saw a "Twitter Desk"
* Rising importance of cycles and public transport: Public cycle use was rising
* Pedestrianisation of Core: Several locations in the core central London, streets were made walking-friendly and general ambiance was improved, This resulted in fewer streets available to cars and so forcing people to use public transport.
* And the startling fact: Results compiled by TfW showed that most people travel (in London) for leisure / entertainment (27%) and shopping (27%) rather than commute (15%) or travel on duty (7%)

Command & Control Console at TfW, London
* * *
We intend to buy, from CIL's CSR funds, three electric buses for New Town on pilot basis. We have already engaged Ernst and Young to draw up bid documents / RFP-RFQs. We rode today an electric bus for a short while to see how it performed on road. A picture:

L-R: Alapan, me, Scott (Br Dy High Commissioner), MD, Optare
* * *

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

London Day 1: Future Cities Catapult, Jason Bruges Studio, Smart Solid Waste Management Project, UKIBC Meeting

Day 1 at London was quite eventful.
* * *
In the morning, we visited a Smart Solid Waste Management Project at Wembley City. We saw how waste was dumped by citizens not on vats or dustbins but on special network-linked bins which suck away wastes using compressed air to a compacting machine and underground transfer station. A great project where using underground pipes you avoid garbage trucks from moving over the roads and no roadside dumps of course.

We decided to think of having a prto-type system in New Town Eco Park.

Few Photos:

Not vats / dustbins:
These waste collection chutes suck away anything you throw there
to an underground network of pipes and machines (see below):
Wembley, London

At underground technology station of SWM at Wembley, London
Chief Secretary Sanjay Mitra, CP Surajit Purakayastha, Transport
Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhay and Rishikesh Chanda of
Br High Commission were with me on 27 Juy 2015
In front of Transfer Station from where tracks take away sealed steel
container full of compacted waste: Clean like a hotel
* * *
A visit to Urban Innovation Centre showed us how to make the citizen at the centre of Technology Application. In one instance, they showed how a smart mobile can amplify sound cues to a blind person and help him go about a city market area. I gave a presentation, signed an MoU and exchanged MoUs in presence of Hon;ble CM, Hon'ble MoS UK, Hon'ble FM in the afternoon. Few pics:
At Urban Innovation Centre, London

Signing MoU with Future Cities Catapult for
developing New Town Kolkata into a Smart City

Exchanging MoU at FCO

* * *
At the FICCI-UKIBC meeting, there was a huge turn out and a well organised interaction, I spoke briefly about our six theme city project.
Entrance to the hall where UKIBC meet took place
* * *
Few clippings:
Hindustan Times dt 27 July 2015

Khabar 365 dt 27 July 2015

Khabar 365 dt 28 July 2015

Ei Samay dt 28 July 2015

Khabar 365 dt 26 July 2015
Khabar 365

Saturday, July 25, 2015

New Town in a Card: Opportunities in a Wallet

The credit-card sized wallet-friendly pen drive has a capacity of 4GB. In it, there is a 0.5 GB video of 5 minutes' duration that talks of investment opportunities in New Town. It talks of the Financial Hub, IT Hub,Health Hub and Education Hub. Rest of the pen-drive storage can be used for personal use of the holder of the card. The "opportunities in a wallet" will be given to investors at London along with a booklet. 

* * *
Here is a clipping:
Hindustan Times dt 25 July 2015
[ See for link ]

Friday, July 24, 2015

Smart City Meeting

The High Powered Committee on Smart Cities headed by Chief Secretary met yesterday. From Govt of India, Mr R K Singh, Director, MoUD also came. Others included S Kishore, Pr Secy IT, Gopalkrishna ACS Power, Secretary Planning etc. The scores obtained by various contesting ULBs were discussed and it was decided that towns getting more than 75% marks would be nominated to GoI for Stage 2 competition. A data verification will take place today at UD Department.

I am now in Kolkata Airport, heading for a meeting in Delhi by Secy MoUD on Smart Cities. Wll be back today itself.
* * *
Here is a clipping:
Ei Samay dt 24 Feb 2015

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Land for New Passport Seva Kendra at New Town

Based on the application of the Regional Passport Officer, Govt of India, a one acre plot in Action Area 2 of New Town was allotted today at Hidco's Board Meeting held today to RPO Kolkata for setting up of a Passport Seva Kendra. This will be located close to the zone earmarked as Diplomatic Enclave.
A clipping:

Times of India dt 23 July 2015

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Search for Handholding Agencies for ThemeCities

There are six theme townships on government land that is being launched by us. A draft video documentary was finalised today.
Here is the link:

 Meanwhile, in a meeting of the Industry Steering Committee held last Monday, I requested for hand-holding agencies for each of these towns. We could decide on the following:
CII: Agnibina Township at Asansol (Theme: Industry) FICCI: Teesta Township at Siliguri (Theme: Health and Education) BCCI : Samriddhi Township at Kalyani (Theme: Analytics) CREDAI / Indian Hospital Association: Uttam Township at Baruipur (Theme: Wellness and Senior Citizen) For the other two Dumurjola at Howrah (Theme: Sports City)and at Shantiniketan (Theme: Culture) ), we hope to discover some association soon.
Here is a clipping:
Ei Samay dt 22 July 2015

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Lottery for Market Shops

Today,lottery of Action Area ID Market for stalls and shops took place. Retd Justice Ashim Banerjee was the judge of the event. The lottery took place at Rabindra Tirtha. The process will continue till Friday.Here is the schedule:

* * *
Here is a clipping:
T2 dt 21 July 2015

Sunday, July 19, 2015

National Mining Equipment Exhibition in New Town

Next year, in November,CII will organise a huge Mining Equipment Exhibition at a ground just outside Eco Park, near its Gate no. 1. Representatives from Chennai came recently and selected the space. Details are being worked out. Incidentally, the State Convention Centre being built by Hidco on 10acre plot near Hidco Bhavan was recently inspected by a group of Asia Pacific organisation for a possible international doctors' conference
* * *

Times of India dt 19 July 2015

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Future Cities Catapult

Next Thursday, on 23rd July, a Board Meeting of Hidco has been convened.One of the issues that will be posed to the Board is about Hidco doing an MoU with Future Cities Catapult of London to do a Handholding for making New Town a Smart City. If approved, I will sign an MoU with them (subject to the approval of the government) during my visit to London on 27-30 July along with the State Govt delegation led by Hon'ble Chief Minister.
* * *
The CNBC-TV18 carried a story on New Town turning into a smart city. A link:

* * *
Here are two clippings, both from today's Times of India:
(Top and Bottom)
Times of India dt 18 July 2015

Friday, July 17, 2015

Films in Najrul Tirtha

We plan to start regular film shows at Najrul Tirtha from Thursday 6th July 2015. There will be 3 shows daily: a mix of Bengali, Hindi and English. There will be periodic theme based panoramas too.retrospectives too. (We are doing "July jure Uttam" at Senior Park already). Sometimes there may be  Cafe Ekante will serve snacks at Najrul Tirtha. Halo Heritage (see below photo) will put up art shows and cultural events. Karigar Haat will provide ethnic souvenirs. Besides the first floor museum on Najrul Islam, we plan to have two other smaller halls in the next six months or so: so that it will have, like Nandan, three screens to choose from.

  Online tickets will be available through BookMyShow soon. Show timings will be intimated through advertisements by film distributors.

  We just got information that Kolkata Internatonal Film Festival will happen at Najrul Tirtha this year too: this will be the second year here.

Aparna Sen at Najrul Tirtha at an Art Exhibition
inauguration on 16 July 2015
The Kolkata International Children's Festival will also take place at Rabindra Tirtha this year on December. This will be its third year in Rabindra Tirtha

Ei Samay dt 15 July 2015

Monday, July 13, 2015

Crafts Village in New Town

Documents were signed today at Nabanna allotting 6.9 acres of land at New Town's Action Area I ( close to and diagonally opposite / back to Najrul Tirtha) to Indian Crafts Village Trust for setting up a crafts village.
Few clippings:

Times of India dt 13 July 2015

Times of India dt 20 July 2015
Telegraph dt 13 July 2015

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Transplanted Trees

Few months ago, we held this workshop on Transplantation of Tall Trees. I was happy to see for myself yesterday such a series of trees hat have just been replanted in street 787 near Eco Park's Banglar Haat, at the flank of the road adjoining Gate 4. The trees were brought in from Budge Budge by KMDA and replanted with help of Hidco engineers. A photo taken yesterday:

A tall tree just transplanted by KMDA at Gate 4 of
Eco Park
* * *
The first bus rolled out yesterday from Hidco garage with Ekante posters.A photo:

* * *
Today was the second day of a 2-day demonstration of Taekwondo at Seniors'Park. I went forabrief while in the morning:

* * *
Few clippings:

Khabar 365 dt  12 July 2015
Pratidin dt 11 July 2015