Sunday, January 31, 2016

Pet Care

We have already started a Pet Corner at Swapna Bhor (Seniors' Park; see my blog post ) An earmarked shed is also fast coming up that will provide a place for surgeries, besides medicines, care products and medical help.

I have received some requests for allowing dogs in at least one park of New Town. Most parks in Kolkata do not allow pets inside parks mostly because dog poop menace. We are thinking of barricading a portion of Swapna Bhor that includes the pet corner zone where people with pet dogs may take a walk. The guards will keep an eye that dog poop is removed by the owner immediately. An additional fee for this facility may have to be paid to ensure cleanliness of the area.

After the loss of a beloved pet, most owners are grief stricken. A chief engineer of Hidco recently took a day off after his dog died after 12 years. In order to achieve closure after a loss, many pet owners need funeral services for their animals. We have identified a 5 kottah plot on the bank of a canal at a far end of New Town where a Pet Crematorium  would be built by NKDA. The search for a designer has begun as well as a legal consultant.
* * *
ToI dt 31 Jan 2016
Hindustan Times dt 31 Jan 2016

Also see:

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Two more banks for Financial Hub

Yesterday was the closing date for applications for participation in this round of bid for Financial Hub in New Town. Vijaya Bank and Karnataka bank have applied formally and their bid appears to be in order and after scrutiny, these will be put up to the Standing Committee of the Cabinet on Infrastructure  for approval. With these, the number of Financial Institutions who has taken part in Finance Hub New Town becomes 21. The others include: SBI, UBI, Allahabad Bank, UCO, Bank of Baroda, Bank of India, Syndicate Bank, Canara Bank. Punjab National Bank, Bandhan Bank, Andhra Bank, Union Bank, WBFC, WBIDFC, National Insurance Corporation, Shriram Credit, Direcorate of Revenue Intelligence and others. SBI is also building a National Institute of Training nearby.
* * *
The Columbia Asia has recently bid for a 3.73 acre plot in New Town for Rs 65 crores. The papers are being scrutinized and will be put up to the Standing Committee of the Cabinet shortly. This will be the second campus in Kolkata of the international chain the other one being in Salt Lake.

I visited a day centre of Apollo Clinic in New Town recently. This is in DLF Galleria building. This will be opened shortly. I was impressed by the lay out, machines and planning of the outlet. A photo on my mobile:

At DLF Galleria Building
* * *
New Town ranks 30th in the list of Smart Cities. We were a bit disappointed not to have been among the first 20 but are now working full time to make the most of the "Fast Track" opportunity accorded, including quick implementation of Unit Area System of Property Taxes and intensive effort to collect water taxes from bulk consumers. The Fast Track Smart City List:

 The Round 2 list is as follows:

* * *
Ei Samay dt 30 Jan 2016

Ei Samay dt 29 Jan 2016
Hindustan Times dt 28 Jan 2016

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Drones for Eco Park

Yesterday the HIDCO board met. It approved a proposal to buy two drones to ensure safety and security of tourists in a smart way. It would also be used for better crowd management especially near the entry gates and water edge. The control unit would be located at Control Room of Eco Park Office. The images from the drones would supplement the inputs from CCTVs that will also have their video feeds displayed in the Control Room. Later, we plan to use drones for random checks on busy road crossings, melas, immersion ghats etc.

The drones (DJI Phantom) would have a 12 MP camera, intelligent flight system with live HD view. A demonstration was organised at Eco Park on 26th Jan 2016. Here is a link and a photo:

DJI Phantom-3 Advanced drone on trial at Eco Park
Also click:

* * *
Hon'ble Chief Minister inaugurated Kamalgazi flyover yesterday by remote switch from Red Road. In the morning, I inspected it along with CEO KMDA Gulam Ansari. I recalled that I "broke coconut" to mark the actual commencement of work of Kamalgazi flyover with the then CEO KMDA Arup Saha ( See this blog's post dated 15 Jan 2013 at

Photo from my vehicle. On Kamalgazi Flyover.

* * *
Millennium Post dt 28 Jan 2016
Times of India dt 28 Jan 2016

Aajkal dt 28 Jan 2016

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Hop On Hop Off Toy Train on Republic Day

We just flagged off a toy train look-alike of Darjeeling Toy Train at Eco Park this morning. The one near Tea Garden, with its little Ghoom station is a static model, for photo opportunity. Located near the Tea Lounge and Children's Park, it is already a great success for visitors and we've had two post security guards to help protect it from over-enthusiastic youngsters.

Today, a look-alike motorised version was flagged off from Gate Two. There are 10 "stations" or stops. One full round takes 40 minutes, there are three coaches each with 9 seats (3x3) so that a total of 27 passengers can go in one trip. The train stops for one minute at each station (Rabi Aranya, Rose Garden etc) where a passenger, if he wishes, can get down and avail of the next trip. The train takes a round all over the lake and also passes through the rose garden and tropical rain forest etc.

Manager (Nirmal), Krittibas (GM(M)), Supriyo (CE), me,
Suman (GM4), Partha (Curator), Gautam (manufacturer),
Arup (GM2)

There are 10 stations now
* * *
Earlier, from 9 am onwards, I hoisted flags at Hidco, NKDA and UD:

Hidco Bhavan, 26 Jan 2016
NKDA , 26 Jan
Nagarayan, UD
* * *

Khabar 365 dt 26 Jan 2016

Aajkal dt 25 Jan 2016

Times of India dt 25 Jan 2016
Times of India dt 25 Jan 2016

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Participative Urban Planning

Yesterday we held a residents’ meet a Urban Eco Village. The idea was to present our own plans for its future development and seek feedback on how citizens view it. On our side, Chief Planner Debaditya Kumer explained with a large map how there would be a linear food court that can serve both park visitors and street walkers outside, day cottages, watch towers and children’s play area. Mr Rupchand Kundu, eminent sculptor who was present on my request, explained how circular side-open ‘akhras’ made with mud and bamboo can act as a unique stage for baul / fakiri/ other folk songs with people sitting all around at the edge of the circular platform itself. Mr C Gupta, a professional who as present on our invitation explained the virtues of catch-click-release fishing as a sport.
The discussion continued for an hour and as in any brainstorming session I recorded the  gist on a whiteboard (see pic below).

Eco Urban Village: 23 Feb 2016

Citizen feedback

* * *
Khabar 365 dt 24 Jan 2016

Khabar 365 dt 24 Jan 2016

Salt Lake Telegrapgh dt 22 Jan 2016

Khabar 365 dt 22 Jan 2016

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Smart Control For Water Treatment Plant

The New Town's water supply scheme will be launched on 28th January 2016. I went to the Water Treatment Plant yesterday to see how the trial run is proceeding. While calibrations are going on, I was interested to see how SCADA system (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) was enabling control of the whole plant. From one computer panel, I was shown how pumps can be switched on or off, what was the level of dozing chlorine etc. Here is a snapshot of the control panel:

* * *
Khabar 365 dt 21 Jan 2016

Khabar 365 dt 21 Jan 2016

Asian Age dt 20 Jan 2016
Millennium Post dt 19 Jan 2016
Millennium Post dt 19 Jan 2016
Times of India dt 20 Jan 2016
Khabar 365 dt 20 Jan 2016

Monday, January 18, 2016

Seven Wonder Work Starts

In a brief ceremony, we broke coconuts to mark the beginning of work at site of seven wonders of the world replica. There are three agencies who will do the work. The site is located near Gate no. 4 of Eco Park. A photo:
Site of 7 Wonders
* * *
I, along with Raju Das IFS of Forest Department and others visited Deer Park near Gate 6 of Eco Park. Trying to bring in the deers by February.
Entrance to Deer Park of Eco Park
* * *

Khabar 365 dt 18 Jan 2016

HT dt 18 Jan 2016
Khabar 365 dt 17 Jan 2016

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Business Club

In order to enhance the business investment climate of New Town, a Business Club will soon be opened in New Town. This is located in Action Area 1 and is near to the prominent landmark of Home Town.

The construction is almost complete. A full-time supervisor of facilities have been posted to look after operational matters. Search for a Club Manager, Trainers and coaches is on.
The New Town Business Club will have three swimming pools - one for children, one for women and one for men. There will be a gym, indoor games and restaurant. Cafe Ekante would run the restaurant here. A lounge and banquet hall will also be there. A tennis court and a basketball court is also ready. We are planning to start casual swimming sessions from April (0700-0900 and 1600-1900 hrs) daily except Monday. Anyone can enroll with Rs 2,000 per season of 30 minute slot each day. Children below 5 years will not be allowed. For tennis, the timings would be 1600-1900 hrs on all days except Mondays. For 3 day a week session, Rs 1,000 per month for one hour daily would be payable. Initially only 16 yr or less youngsters would be included. I also spoke to the President od State Basketball Federation Mr Sivaji Ghosh and requested him to host few games of Basketball in the Business Club of New Town.

Business / corporate membership would be allowed soon. The move strives to build upon the BGBS conferences, the Ease of Business focus and Plug-n-Play Smart infrastructure of New Town. The idea is to attract talent and businessmen through a strong social infrastructure that supplements high quality movies (dolby 7.1 2K 4 shows-a-day Nazrul Tirtha), culture (weekly play at Rabindra Tirtha every Sunday), tourism (Eco Park, Mother's Wax Museum and Urban Eco Village) and the football / cricket grounds of NKDA/ Hidco. It is part of the "boating is as important as banking" philosophy underlying development of New Town Kolkata, with its Financial and Legal Hub, Health and Education Hub and ITeS / Smart City Focus.

A picture :
Artist's impression of New Town Business Club
* * *
Times of India dt 16 Jan 2016

Friday, January 15, 2016

Catch n Release

Yesterday, minutes after I landed back from Andamans where I'd gone on a short LTC, I attended a programme of the Fisheries Department where Minister of Fisheries Chandrakanta Sinha released many fishlings in Eco Park Lake. A photo on our flat jetty.
l-R: Addl Director of Fisheries, Minister Chandrakanta
Singh, me, Karmadhyakshya N-24:
14 Jan 2016
Today evening, I had an interesting discussion with a consultant who promotes Catch and Release concept in angling. All fish caught - small and large - are to be released. So there is no commercial angling but a pure sport. A short talk will be given by the consultant on Saturday 23rd January at Eco Urban Village where children and young adults will be motivated to adopt the Catch-and-Release concept of angling, as a pure sport.

Actually, on the 23rd January, we are doing a unique experiment in Eco Urban Village. All local apartment owners will be invited to attend a workshop where I and artist Rupchand Kundu would be present. Concepts would be presented on what we have in mind on development of Eco Urban Village and what the residents want. We will even carry a white board to jot down ideas. Do we need swings or see-saws or both? Do we do an "akhra"-type central stage? Are paddle boats enough or do we need speed-boats too? The participatory planning of the Eco Urban Village would create a blue-print of future development of Eco Urban Village

* * * EcoCottage

* * *
Ei Samay dt 10 Jan 2016

Khabar 365 dt 10 Jan 2016

Ei Samay dt 15 Jan 2016
Millenniumm Post dt 10 Jan 2016
Bartaman dt 9 Jn 2016

Telegraph dt 10 Jan 2016