Monday, February 29, 2016

Rs 50,000 fine proposed for C&D Waste

New Town is a fast developing township. Everyday, construction activities for new buildings by private individuals and firms take place. In the process, the construction materials like sand, stone chips, bricks are often dumped on roadsides and drains thus creating inconvenience and cloggibg drains and sewerage networks. Stone dust, demolition waste and concrete pile waste add to this problem. Many citizens have complained. Warnings have been issued by NKDA often enough. Names and contacts of contractors have been mandated to be displayed at spot so that the responsible persons can be contacted easily so as to remove the Construction and Demolition Waste.

But it seems, more is required. As such, in its Board meeting of NKDA held last week on 26th February, a resolution was taken that for improper dumping of construction material or improper disposal of C&D Waste, a fine of Rs 50,000 may be imposed, for which necessary changes in the rules/ act will be suggested to be brought about. This is on the lines of fine imposed by NGT in a case dealing with air pollution issue arising out of building activities and C&D Wate (Vardhaman Kaushik Vs Union of India, Sanjay Kulshrestha vs Union of India)
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Saturday, February 27, 2016

Drones Arrive

In the Smart City Plan of New Town, there is a mention of use of drones for monitoring and surveillance. We feel that while CCTVs must be put on critical zones such s traffic junctions, there are often many 'shadow' zones which are not covered by the CCTVs. Further, where there is a temporary problem - eg too many people queuing at the water front for a boat ride at Eco Park -  a drone-camera image is more helpful.

The drones, which have cameras with HD output, can stream live photos to the control unit / computer. Some possible uses in New Town:
- monitor long waterfront to see if any crowd is building up in lake of eco park
- monitor ticket counter queue
- monitor if anybody is littering and then impose fine
- monitor car parking areas pending installation of smart car parking solutions
- get great overview pictures
- monitor progress of engineering projects across the city

Yesterday, the two drones arrived at Kolkata Airport. We'd After several grueling hours the models were cleared from cargo area customs. Here are two pictures taken at 8.30 pm yesterday at Hidco; we will soon commission it.

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Khabar365 dt 27 February 2016

ToI dt 27 Feb 16

Friday, February 26, 2016


The following advertisement appeared in many papers today. After inauguration by Hon'ble CM at Kshudiram Anushilan Kendra (we saw that through a live video streamed projection organised by Forest), I along with officers of Forest Department (PCCF, Raju Das etc), HIDCO (Suman Neogy, Arup Ghosh, Partho Ghosh etc), NKDA (Debapriya Banerjee, Abin De, Debjit Ghosh etc) Ram Krishna Mission Belur (Surhitananda Swamy, Santanu Maharaj etc) entered Harinalaya, went by new Toy Train to Ghoom Station replica, then to Ticket Plaza and Pedestrian Subway and then to MWM to unveil Ma Sarada's Wax Statue. 

New Pedestrian Subway between MWM and Eco Park

At MWM; Swami Suritananda before wax statue of
Ma Sarada

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Khabar 365 dt 26 Feb 2016

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Intelligent City Design

We had a brainstorming session today at Hidco Conference Room ASSOCHAM helped us organise it. Principal Secretary IT Talleen Kumar, Director Eastern Region ASSOCHAM Mr Sanjay Jhunjhunwala, Ms Gita Balakrishnan President Indian Institute of Architects (Eastern Region), Head, Department of Architecture IIT Kharagpur Prof S Chattopadhyay, other town planners and architects, representatives of IBM, Techno India and planners/ architects of Hidco and Nkda were present.

FCC (Future Cities Catapult) has written to us from London as follows:
"Urban design is the bringing together of buildings, infrastructure, transport systems, spaces, public art, landscape, architecture and civic innovations to create places that are functional and attractive for people to live, work and socialise. Urban design by nature is multi-disciplinary: it is the art of creating places that attracts and retains people...We very much commend and support your proposal to develop a National Institute of Intelligent Urban Design. We would welcome to support an early conversation with UK Commission of Architecture and Built Environment".

Some of the ideas that were discussed were:
1. Integration of land master planning with digital master planning from the drawing board would be necessary
2. Integration of other specialist departments such as electrical (including energy), transport, bio-technology and police would also need to be converged at the drawing board.
3. Best practices need to be collated and standardised. Some good examples were (a) looking for solar energy companies who will use your rooftop to install solar panels etc at their cost and supply you electricity at 50p less per unit than what WBSEDCL might charge (b) have innovation zones and citizen centric approach (c) create monographs containing researched materials for others to use (d) aim for minimising hospital visits and have sensors on the persons to nudge critically ill patients to hospitals through smart alert systems all thoughout the journey to hospital  (e) to make walk-to-work a reality, employers to provide residences to its officers at nearby locations (f) make affordable solutions.

All were requested to give in their detailed suggestions by email by Monday next.

A picture of the session:
Brainstorming for intelligent convergence

Millennium Post dt 25 Feb 2016

Millennium Post dt 25 Feb 2016

Ei Samay dt 25 Feb 2016

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Smart Signages

The four gates to Eco Park already have smart yellow smart signages. Nazrul Tirtha Bus Stop also has one. Now a signage at Eco Park Bus Stop is installed and a large area signage has been installed near Hidco Bhavan / Rabindra tirtha junction. These larger signages are for the motorists while the other ones are for pedestrians. Pictures:

Smart Area Signage: Asian Cherry Blossoms in right-hand


Hindustan Times dt 22 Feb 2016
Khabar 365 dt 22 Feb 2016
Khabar 365 dt 22 Feb 2016

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Stage G of Upasanasthal Commissioned

A project has several phases in its implementation cycle:
A. Concept & Design B. Estimate & Tender C. Letter of Intent & Work Order D. Pre-construction &  Structure construction E. Electrical and finishing F.  Completion of Hardware G. Commissioning & Functioning

This morning, Upasanasthal reached its Stage G Commissioning. Morning Yoga Classes started at 6 am today. NKDA is organizing. Free classes every weekend to residents of New Town. Will continue for 3 months. Idea is to introduce people to de-stressing and energising effects of yoga and meditation. Trainer Aditi De is herself a resident of New Town and runs classes in Swapna Bhor (Seniors' Park). In its very first inaugural day, 61 persons registered themselves. More requests are coming in. On my Facebook wall, I'm also receiving request for extensions of 3 month period !

 Photo taken this morning:

Inaugural session by Aditi De
20 Feb 2016
Located at the immersion site opposite the tree bank, the Upasanasthal adds a bit more of Shantiniketan in Kolkata, along with Rabindra Tirtha, Basanat Utsav, Pous Utsav, Rabindra Museum and weekly cultural functions. 

Building the structure on the lines of Upasana Griha of Shantiniketan was not easy as tinted glasses of desired quality are not available. Innovations and experiments were undertaken by NKDA engineers to make the structure. 

Months ago, I'd planned to commission Upasanasthal in this month. I'd put the artist's impression in the official 2016 calendar of HIDCO on its February page. A snap taken of the calendar on my home wall:
February 2016: Hidco Office Calendar
with Upasanastahal
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Yesterday, we inaugurated the tennis and basket-ball courts of Business Club of New Town. Few ics:

Hindustan Times dt 20 Feb 2016

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Design Consultancy for Bridge over Krishnapur Canal

We are approaching Jadavpur Univesity to do an impact assessment study on contruction of elevated corridor from E M By Pass to New Town, avoiding Chingrihata, Nabadiganta and Technopolis junction. The DPR is already prepared with help of CES.

This elevated corridor will have to cross the Krishnapur Canal. We decided yesterday in our daily review meeting at Hidco to engage a consultant to design it.

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Millennium Post dt 15 Feb 2016

Monday, February 15, 2016

State Govt Office Complex

The SGO Complex on a plot in Salt Lake adjoining UD Department building at Nagarayan is half-way done. We went on a joint inspection today. First four floors are for car parking. Other floors are 5,000 sq ft each, with provision of bifurcating into two small office units. We are already flooded with enquiries from various govt departments who want to take space here. Some examples: Pay and Accounts Office, Valuation Board, Electricity Regulatory Office and many more. The situation s aggravated due to vacating of Writers' Buildings and conversion of Bidhannagar Municipality to Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation.

We decided to have June 2016 as the target for completion, though partition walls and false ceilings would be done in consultation with the allotted office. Photos taken on my mobile today:

Site meeting at SGO Complex (above) and view
from outside (below)

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Ei Samay dt 15 February 2016

Times of India dt 15 Feb 2016

Sunday, February 14, 2016


AMR = Automatic Meter Reading for water supply network. "Automatic" means "Smart": a SIM card installed enables water consumption data to be streamed live to the internet cloud from where either a control room or any apps can access the data in real time. This would ensure detection of leakages, overflows and optimisation of water supply to all its 'districts'.

I had a meeting with a technical team of Kolkata Municipal Corporation (Bibhas Maity, Amitabha Pal, Amit Saha) to understand how smart meters can work in the Kolkata scenario, what works best in the  chaos of Calcutta streets. It seems they've made extensive trials and innovations. They said that it'd not work with ground water as it contains iron that clog and choke the sophisticated sensing mechanism. Now that in New Town surface water is a reality, we can, as per Mr Maity, very well think of AMR. Here no manual meter reading would be necessary. The system works best with a 24x7 water supply system as air bubbles from intermittent water flow tend to create tiny problems. I told him that the Smart City Plan of New Town has 24x7 water supply as one of its goals.

Next week, a technical team will come to New Town to discuss with New Town's water supply engineers and chalk out a road map of action. I have already decided to approach KMC officially to create a technical advisory group  for New Town Smart Water Supply programme.

A water meter with radio frequency module to transmit
data to internet cloud: shown by KMC engineers to me 
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ToI dt 14 Feb 2016

Khabar 365 dt 14 Feb 2016

Friday, February 12, 2016

Peripherilisation of the Urban Economy

Urban economists have pointed out that with the advent of IT/ITeS/BPO/KPO industries in late 1990s in India, new age companies disn't have to be at the city core because of availability of internet, but had need for plug-and-play infrastructure, parking places, parks and leisure zones, shopping malls and restaurants which were available at the periphery zones of a city. The city core was still needed for supply of manpower and supporting material. The core was often not available or was congested for the new age businesses. In the CII seminar yesterday, I mentioned that this "peripherilisation of the urban economy" had led to the success of New Town and Sector 5 Salt lake. And building upon it, the State Government policy of six intelligent cities all of which were located on the periphery of an existing vibrant city were launched. These were at Siliguri, Kalyani, Baruipur, Shantiniketan and Howrah where, like Sector 5 and New Town, government land is assembled for building a greenfield futuristic intelligent city.
In fact, I am now in Mumbai, to attend three meetings with top CEOs of certain companies to explain the concepts.
* * *
Times of India dt 11 Feb 2016

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Work on ground starts for Presidency University Campus 2

Ms Anuradha Lohia, VC Presidency University, broke the first coconut at a brief ceremony this afternoon at site. M/s Sapooji Pallonji won the contract after e-tender.

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Times of India dt 10 Feb 2016

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Art, Architects and Lights

Yesterday I had a meeting with the Indian Institute of Architects Ms Gita Balakishnan, President of Bengal Chapter, Abin Chowdhury, Ayan Choudhury and others). We decided to have a design session for 2 days at Rabindra Tirtha with students of Art, Architecture and Engineering with a view to create smart outdoor creations. I suggested few themes that the students could work on (1) design  graphics, lights embellishments on metro pillars in New Town (2) canal-side walk (3) creative models for street hawker stalls (4) interactive intelligent street furniture / footpath (5) sensory park for the challenged (6) any other site in New Town.

The schedule will be decided taking into consideration exam schedules. The 2-day non-stop session would be done by IIA in collaboration with Hidco/ NKDA.
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Ei Samay dt 8 Feb 2016

Asian Age dt 8 Feb 2016
The Statesman dt 9 Feb 2016
Hindustan Times dt 9 Feb 2016

Millennium Post dt 9 Feb 2016

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Two Intelligent Auto Fuel Complexes to come up in New Town

I met Mr Pritish Bharat, DGM Indian Oil Corporation last Thursday at Hidco to discuss about the two plots that IOC has in New Town that can be designed intelligently, One of these is on the Bangla Sarani, the Major Arterial Road to airport, and the second is in Action Area III, on way to ITC Infotech.

We agreed that these would be intelligently designed with smart design , aesthetically and ICT-wise. There would be Wi Fi except for a limited area near the fuel dispenser (recall that you have to switch off your mobile while re-fuelling your car to reduce fire hazard risk). There would be a self-operated optional fuel dispenser where you can pay through apps and fill up yourself : I thought the payment by PayTM etc would be a great idea. Air Quality monitor and auto pollution testing units would be there. Smart CCTV and Charging stations for e-rickshaws (totos) would also be provided. A convenience store with an eatery would also be planned.

Here is a photo of a pro-type (but he assured me that the ones in New Town would be COCO - Company Owned Company Operated - and likely to be state-of-the-art, and better):

A  modern Fuel Complex of IOC in Chennai
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A two-member delegation led by Debapriya Biswas, CEO NKDA met Mission Director, Smart Cities in Delhi on Friday last. Discussions took place on how to submit the improved revised proposal by 15 April. New Town stood 30th in all India ranking and has been placed in the second 'Fast Track' list. Mission Director Smart City MoUD informed that a special workshop would be held at Vigyan Bhavan New Delhi on 23rd February when detailed clarifications would be given. We would, of course, attend along with our consultants.

Meanwhile, we are continuing with our smart initiatives. On 25th February, we will hold a brain-storming session on making a concept paper on making a National Institute of Intelligent Urban Design in New Town. This will be done in association with Assocham. Last week we held an intensive session with IIT team on designing of cycle tracks and smart public cycle sharing scheme and agreed on some time lines. Last week, I held a meeting with NIC at NKDA to make birth and death certificates on-line enabled. Orders have been placed on-line for procuring two drones for eco park. And in the last Board Meeting of Hidco, we agreed to ask WEBEL to help Hidco become fully e-governance enabled and extend Wi Fi from New Town (Technopolis) to Chingrihata (E M By Pass).
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Khabar 365 dt 7 Feb 2016

Anandabazar dt 7 Feb 2016

Salt Lake Telegraph dt 5 Feb 2016
Also see:

Millennium Post dt 7 Feb 2016

Millennium Post dt 7 Feb 2016