Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Minister to Nagarayan, Unnayan and Hidco Bhavans

Minister Hakim at Hidco Bhawan
After getting UD&MA portfolio on Friday last, Minister Firhad Hakim met the staff and officers of UD, KMDA and Hidco. Thereafter, he visited New Town Business Club and agreed to inaugurate it some time in July 2016
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Millennium Post dt 31 May 2016

Monday, May 30, 2016

Designed Street in Action Area 2

I had a meeting with SE PHE, Chief Planner Hidco and ED/CE Hidco to determine the modalities of developing the side streets of Biswa Bangla Sarani in Action Area 2. The area of consideration would be from first Bagjola Bridge near Hidco Bhavan to Swiss Hoteel, and Street 787 till Hanuman Mandir, Street from Owl Junction to Eco Urbann Village and Akankhs More to STP. I said that there should be few smart elements including Wi Fi Hotspots, benches, street kiosks, vegetative screen between road and footpath, trees and dust-bins, and cycle/ wheel-chair-friendly ramps to footpaths. This would be done by PHED, New Town Circle. I advised SE PHED to consult standard guidelines (see picture above , for example) and to consult a landscape architect.
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Asian Age dt 30 May 2016

Khabar 365 dt 30 May 2016

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Review of Projects

On the first day of the "second innings" of the new government headed by Mamata Banerjee, I held a meeting of over 150 officers, engineers, architects, consultants and agencies of HIDCO and NKDA at Rabindra Tirtha. I had a long 3 hour continuous monitoring with basic data projected by powerpoint for each of the 35 ongoing projects. I was on stage and the team doing the project under review would come up on the stage and make precise commitments.
I also explained that the second innings and the Smart City sanction had made us doubly responsible for making New Town into a economic hub that would produce jobs. I explained the strategy to be adopted for making the city inward investment friendly, by making the city a work of art by itself and using technology to steer ahead - just as extensive adoption of mechanization had made Hidco a very efficient project implementer from its very start.
Focus: I said that we must focus on quality and safety in executing projects. I focussed also on hearing to complaints and suggestions from citizens and try to solve issues from the city perspective. Elimination of air pollution and visual pollution was also a priority and said we must concentrate on demonstration projects: we decided to develop 350 m of Main Biswa Bangla Road from the Technopolis Bridge till subway near Najrul Tirtha as a model Smart Street .
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Aajkal dt 28 May 2016

Friday, May 27, 2016

Firhad Hakim takes over as UD & MA Minister

Firhad Hakim starts second innings. With hims are CEO KMDA, me
 and others

I attended to see the swearing in of Hon'ble CM at Red Road this morning. After the cabinet meet in the afternoon, upon announcement of portfolios of ministers, I congratulated and welcomed Minister Hakim at Nabanna and later welcomed him at Writers' Buildings with a bouquet of flowers.
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Sanmarg dt 26 May 2016
Ei Samay dt 27 May 2016

ToI dt 28 May 2016

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Gate in New Town

Gate at New Town entry in AA1

Displays in LED Boards of New Town
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Telegraph Metro dt 25 May 16
Front Page, Millennium Post, 25 May 16

Front Page, HT, 25 May 2016
Asian Age dt 25 May 2016

Ei Samay dt 25 May 2016
Front Page, Aajkal, 25 May 16
Pratidin dt 25 May 2016
Ebela dt 25 May 16

(Top and below)
Dainik Statesman dt 25 May 16

Anandabazar dt 25 May 2016
Khabar 365 dt 25 May 2016

Monday, May 23, 2016

Easter Island Statues

Statues of Easter Island in Eco Park: being built
Yesterday, I , along with sculptor Rupchand Kundu and HIDCO officers went to see the progress of seven wonders of the world near Gate 4 of Eco Park. The Easter Island is in South eastern Pacific Ocean, in Chile, off the Peru coast. See this link for further details http://world.new7wonders.com/new7wonders-of-the-world-finalists/statues-of-easter-island-10th-16th-century-easter-island-chile/ .

The other wonders under construction include the Taj Mahal, Great Wall of China, Christ the Redeemer, Pyramids, Colosseum and Petra Jordan.

The project is slated to be completed within this year.
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Millennium Post dt 23 May 2016
Asian Age dt 23 May 2016

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Smart Car Parking at Eco Park

At Gate 1 of Eco Park, about 500 cars can park. To give the users a smart experience in paying their parking fees, we have just installed a Smart Car Parking Management System. This is just in trial operation from last week.
The system operates as follows:
As soon as a car is near the entry gate, its presence is automatically sensed by a system that is buried under the ground (It works on interruption of earth's magnetic field by the metal body, I was told). The slot machine is then activated and the driver presses a button to get a credit-card-shaped plastic card where time etc is recorded in the embedded chip.
At the entry point, this card is "touched" in a machine. There is an operator who hands over a ticket printed on thermal paper showing details and fee. On payment, the operator pushes a button and the boom barrier opens for the car to go out.
There are many checks and balances built in. The best part is that it gives an accurate report every day on the number of parking (which hour was the busiest entry time today? what is the average duration of a parking car ? etc).
Soon the other car parking entries will have this system too.
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ToI dt 22 May 2016

Friday, May 20, 2016

Najrul Jayanti at Najrul Tirtha

The Information and Cultural Affairs Department will hold Nazrul Jayanti on Wednesday 25th May 2016 at Nazrul Tirtha. 

A preparatory joint site visit will take place tomorrow afternoon. Sample invitation card:

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A creation of Lintas, our creative advisor developed today is given below:

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Bus Stand at Financial Hub

Passenger Shed near Alia

At Delhi's Banga Bhavan, I met VC, Alia University who requested me to construct two bus stand sheds near Alia University as students were finding it difficult to wait in the scorching sun. I told NKDA and saw yesterday that the bus shed was almost ready. Only painting remains to be done. Kudos to Abin De, EE MKDA who did this on a breakneck speed.
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Ei Samay dt 18 May 2016

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Meeting on Drainage

Although we are all suffering due to the intense heat caused by lack of rains, we know monsoon is to hit Kolkata in a month's time and we decided to go on our drainage preparations. A technical meeting will be held by Executive Director, Hidco, next week with Irrigation, PHE, BMC, NKDA, HIDCO etc to take precautions, clean drains, position pumps etc.
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Ei Samay dt 17 May 2016

Monday, May 16, 2016

Cafe Ekante to go Global

Cake cutting at Cafe Ekante

With the cutting of a cake yesterday evening at 6pm by a young guest, a weeklong celebration of Cafe Ekante "Surprise yourself" started.
Even as I was going to the Cafe on boat, I met, within a span of five minutes, two foreign groups in Cafe Ekante:

With the launching of the anniversary celebrations, we'd now try to make Eco Park and Cafe Ekante more global, as a matter of strategy.

Times of India dt 16 May 2016

Hindustan Times dt 16 May 2016
Aajkal dt 16 May 2016

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Coast Management : Tajpur

Udaipur Beach

Yesterday, I was at Tajpur / Digha for a day. I made site inspections and meeting with Executive Officer Digha Shankarpur Development Authority (DSDA) Mr Sujan Datta, and technical officers and surveyors.
As per law, coastal zones are categorized into four zones, CRZ-I,II,III and IV (CRZ=Coastal Regulation Zone). Closest to the sea, CRZ-I is a "No Development Zone" while restrictive development is allowed in CRZ II, III and IV as per conditionalities. For Tajpur, the maps for the CRZ zones were not in existence and proposals would often come requesting permission to develop hotels / resorts etc. After prolonged efforts, finally, at the formal request and payment of costs to Institute of Wetland  a map on scale 1:1,25,000 has been prepared for a 7 km radius around Tajpur. I had an extensive study of the map and the site with officers yesterday. We decided that we would facilitate prospective investors to set up resorts only after following CRZ and Land Use (LUDCP) norms. We decided to allow consultation with the maps at DSDA office so that tour project developers would have a fair idea of what is allowed even before spending any time and effort. DSDA would then help them in moving with formalities of Forms 1,2 etc that are needed under Coastal Regulations, the Pollution Control clearances that are needed and also permissions for mutation, building construction etc. I may add that this was a long-pending demand of the local hoteliers' association in Tajpur and they had even come to meet me in a group at UD some time back (August 2015, Tajpur Sea Coast Hoteliers Welfare Association)
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Asian Age dt 15 May 2016
Aajkal dt 15 May 2016
Ei Samay dt 15 May 2016
HT dt 13 May 2016