Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Alipurduar Bhavan in Salt Lake

There is a Jalpaiguri Bhavan at Salt Lake where residents of the district can get accommodation when in Kolkata for health, education or other reasons. It is owned by the Jalpaiguri Zilla Parishad. In course of the district review meeting at Alipurduar yesterday, where I was present too, Sabhadipati Alipuduar Zilla Parishad raised the issue that upon bifurcation of Jalpaiguri district, two floors of the Bhavan should normally be given over to Alipurdur district. Hon;ble CM announced that a plot of land more or less equivalent to the one owned by JZP (4.5 kattahs) may be allotted at Salt Lake to AZP. I spoke to Special Secretary UD Gopal Ghosh after the meeting and am told that a plot has already been identified.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Teesta : Health and Education Themed City

I am in Siliguri now. Went to visit few sites with CEO SJDA R. Vimala, IAS. One of these was the Teesta Township site. I explained to CEO that we are working at a renewed thrust for making the theme cities including Teesta at Siliguri successful.

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Anandabazar dt 27 June 2016

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Eco City in an Eco Park

Yesterday we had a workshop on "Green Buildings and Sustainable Development" in collaboration with TERI / GRIHA at Rabindra Tirtha. The pics above relate to that. The top pic is a thermal image of a typical urban built up area which shows that area around trees are considerably cooler than concrete buildings primarily because trees give about 750-1,500 litres of water into the atmosphere through transpiration.

I mentioned that we are, under inspiration from CM, trying to project New Town as a Green City. Some advances made are as follows:

1. West Bengal was the first state in India to have declared that a 10% additional FAR would be given for Green Buildings.
2. For New Town, a notification is being issued that says that for being qualified to get the additional FAR, the building must be certified Gold Rated (under IGBC) or 4-Star Rated (under Griha Rating)
3. In all cases, for availing of the extra 10% FAR, a extra 10% of the land cost will have to be paid to Hidco.
4. Hidco has applied to IGBC (Indian Green Building Council, an affiliate of CII) for helping it to get a status of Green City.
5. Many green efforts do not succeed at the building level: it must be done at the city level. New Town is creating a document that will enable city level  rain water harvesting and recycling and waste water recycling (see Time of India clipping below)
6. All government building rooftops in New Town will have Solar Panels; many already do. There are solar panels on important public buildings (Coal India, NKDA, Rabi Rashmi etc) and public spaces (water of Smritibon, canal near Eco Park etc). Search for technology is going on for using Solar Panels on pathways in public parks.
7. Cycle tracks are being laid out. Public Cycle schemes are being worked out. DPR by IIT Kharagpur is already finalised.
8. E-Rickshaws / Totos are encouraged as last-mile-public-transport. With CSR assistance from Coal India, we are getting 3 electric buses and one electric car (the electric car has already been delivered and is being tested) to set an example.
9. Tall tree nursery has been set up. Large scale plantations have been planned from 14 July this year. A tree census has been planned. Canal-side land is being given on rent for raising nurseries by professionals.
10. A  pilot organic rooftop garden is being developed on a market building where coconut fibre-in-cement-bags will be given drip irrigation and micro-nutrient to produce rooftop vegetables under the shade of translucent solar panel shades.
11. Much of New Town Street  lights already  use  LEDs. Remaining halogen ones will be phased out gradually. Smart atmospheric clock timed switches turn off and turn on street lights at correct times.
12. Appliances like air-conditioners will be 5-star rated, the most efficient energy-wise, not necessarily the cheapest.
13. "Green" also means young, youth and new. Wi Fi along the Biswa Bangla Sarani is the only one of its kind in India (if you observe, you will often see clusters of young students taking benefit of 30 minutes' free Wi Fi on roadsides!). There will be more Wi Fi hotspots (KPMG is making a DPR). A start-up building is being constructed in Action Area 1. Educational Hub, Finance Hub and IT Hub will bring green students many job opportunities.
14. Eco Park, Eco Urban Village, Seniors' Park, Sensory Park, Children's Park and triangular traffic rotary raised lawns provide a variety of  green choices for all, young and old. A fine work life balance for all, New Town's tagline will be : "Eco City in an Eco Park"
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Times of India dt 26 June 2016

Friday, June 24, 2016

Green City Certification

Notice in Millennium Post dt 24 June 2016

The certification process for green buildings is well known. Tomorrow we are having a seminar on Green Buildings organised by GRIHA. But certifying a whole city to be green? We have been discussing with IGBC (India Green Building Council) and a notice has been invited today seeking consultants to do the paperwork and guide us through the prcess.
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Salt Lake Telegraph dt 24 June 2016

Thursday, June 23, 2016

"Green City, New Town"

At my request, artist Suvaprasanna has tweaked Hidco logo so as to make it suitable for us to launch the "Green City, New Town" campaign. Revolved around this, will be our campaign that New Town looks at Solar Energy, Plantations, Cycle Tracks, Recycled Rain Water, LED lights, efficient appliances and so on. In fact, our target is to make new buildings certified green (Gold of IGBC or 4 Stars for Griha ratings). We are even approaching IGBC to certify our New Town as a Green Town.
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Khabar 365 dt 23 June 2016

Millennium Post dt 23 June 2016

Times of India dt 23 June 2016
Pratidin dt 23 June 2016

Monday, June 20, 2016

Smart Livable Street

We will develop the 10.5 km stretch of Biswa Bangla Sarani into a Smart Liveable Street. We had a 3 hour braistorming session with Hidco, NKDA and PHED. We will meet again in two weeks' time.
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Millennium Post dt 20 June 2016
(Visit date since changed)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

"Rebooting Real Edge"

In a seminar "Real Estate Conclave" organised at Park Hotel yesterday by ACAE Chartered Accountants' Study Circle I mentioned that the Central Govt had issued notification stating that certain sections of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development At) 2016 were brought into operation wef from 1 May 2016 (See ). These were basically about setting up of the Regulatory Authority and disclosure of information on web. In West Bengal, the Promoters' Act 1993 was a similar Act and I recalled that a study team of the Parliament had met us (me, Housing Secretary, Municipal Secretary etc) in a group consultation at the Hyatt some time ago.

I also mentioned of the policy direction of the state government in the New Township Policy and requested that the opportunities to build 6 Theme Townships on government land may be spread among possible investors.
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Khabar 365 dt 19 June 2016

Times of India dt 19 June 2016

Friday, June 17, 2016

State Convention Centre

In the Board Meeting of Hidco held today, we decided to finalise a set of provisional tariffs applicable for renting various parts of the convention centre, including the smaller banquet halls and the mini auditoriums and the spaces in front of the halls, to be valid till such time a final tariff plan is worked out. For this, a three member Committee of Directors was formed with Mr Soumya Ray, Director as its Chairman. The Committee had discussed with various groups, consultants, Hotels, and studied prevailing practice in Vigyan Bhavan and industry norms. The objective was to make the rates competitive, yet attractive, and the ideawas to make Kolkata a Convention Destination. Incidentally, we have already received firm bookings from 2017 for the State Convention Centre.

Minister Firhad Hakim has agreed to have a review of the progress of construction on Tuesday next. The Executive Director of L&T is also expected to join him and us for the site inspection and review sceduled at 2 pm on 21st June. A presentation will also be shown to him. All officers, arcitects and engineers as well as specialist consultants will be present too.
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Bartaman dt 17 June 2016

Thursday, June 16, 2016

NMCG Meeting at Delhi

Writing this from Banga Bhavan, just after the meeting of the Governing Council of NMCG (National Mission for Clean Ganga).

After normal agenda business was over, I mentioned that the State Government under the leadership of Hon'ble CM is launching a tree plantation drive in the coming monsoons which is around the corner. The Forest Research Institute at Dehra Dun had prepared a DPR for greening the shores of Ganga Basin in West Bengal. However, the approval had not been communicated and considering that it requires time for preparation of pits, collection/ raising of saplings etc, any further delay would be avoidable. The Chairman (Secretary MoWR  Shasi Sekhar) issued instructions immediately and I am told by the State Nodal Officer that he just received a call from NMCG that necessary clearance would be given soon.

At the meeting I was also told that projects worth Rs 15 cr for Ghats and Crematorium at Garulia had also been sanctioned.

I would hold a co-ordination meeting on Saturday at Kolkata.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Alo Shree in UD

GRTSPV= Grid Connected Rooftop Solar Photo-voltaic System is named "Alo Shree" insofar as it relates to government building rooftops. The target is to cover all such public buildings by 2017-18. In UD Department, we have already done the following:

Nagarayan Building Rooftop: 30 KW
Nirman Bhavan Rooftop: 50 KW
NKDA Building Rooftop: 12 KW
1C-CG Market Roof Top: 30 KW
1B Market Roof Top: 10 KW
1C-CB Market Rooftop: 60 KW

We are taking further action to cover all buildings by 2017-18

In all these SPV units, there are net metering arrangements. There are more such net metering units in New Town: (1) Canaltop SPV units near Eco Park: 100 KW and (2) Floating SPV at Smritibon : 10 KW.

In addition, NKDA is collaborating with IIT Kanpur for commissioning a 39 KW rooftop SPV net-metered system at DK Block Market complex.
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Ei Samay dt 15 March 2016
Also see Tara TV (Green City New Town) at

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Life Training at Site

Yesterday, Mrs and Mr Saurav Chakraborty of Karmayogi met me and floated the idea of imparting life training to field workers like construction workers, plumbers, gardeners, helpers, sweepers etc. The spark was that the workers won't be asked to come to classrooms but that trainers would go to the sites and impart life training to them,1-2 hours a day, 2-3 times a week or so. What is life training? Saurav explained that these include de-stressing meditations, yoga, simple management skills and digital literacy. A certificate would also be given. Sounded interesting.

I asked him to give a proposal.
Millennium Post dt 14 June 2016
(Above and Below)

Monday, June 13, 2016

Light Pollution

Phillips made a presentation at Hidco today about a proposal to make creative lighting in Eco Park. In course of the presentation they said that their plan was also to reduce "light pollution", which, they explained, meant that no light would be allowed to  scatter towards the sky so that the night sky was free of artificial scattered light but would be full of stars for all to see.
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Times of India dt 13 June 2016

Khabar 365 dt 13 June 2016

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Dokra Models in Eco Park

Gate 4 Eco Park
A trio statue dokra model has just been installed at Eco Park's Gate 4. This gate is increasingly being populated by tribal art from all parts of India. A cost iron gate by tribals of Bastar, Worli circular wall paintings, head of a tribal girl nearby etc. More will follow.
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I had an inspection of all canals of New Town with engineers of Hidco and NKDA to prepare ourselves from the monsoon season. We decided to clear the water hyacinths, install pumps, clear garbage and do re-sectioning in certain stretches. earlier, Hidco engineers attended a meeting at Jalsampad Bhavan that was a co-ordination meeting by Irrigation Department. At Hidco, we have also asked a consultant to make out a project report of recycling rainwater run off through canals and pipes to the water treatment plant at New Town in Action Area 1 so that this can be recycled.
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Ei Samay dt 12 June 2016
Aajkal dt 12 June 2016

Khabar 365 dt 12 June 2016

Smbad Pratidin dt 12 June 2016

Friday, June 10, 2016

Taking Forward the Theme Cities

At Hidco Bhavan with BCCI: On Analytics City: 10 June 2016

Just had a long meet with Bengal Chamber of Commerce, discussing on strategies to be followed for making the Analytics Theme City at Kalyani interesting to global players. BCCI is also in touch with KPMG and McKinsey. They will give a proposal within a week or so which I will pose to the Government.

I also contacted BUIDL/ILFS to look at the tender documents of theme cities today.
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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Wi Fi Hot Spots and Internet-on-Demand

In today's Smart and Information Technology oriented world, staying without internet is getting more and more unthinkable.See, for example this link in today's paper :

In Smart City New Town, we have engaged M/s KPMG as Consultants to advise us how best to go about it as a pan City solution in accordance with Smart City Plan. Yesterday we had a long discussion with a powerpoint presentation. KPMG suggested that there may be 70 odd public Wi Fi hotspots in various bus stands, parks, markets, plazas etc where first 30 minutes of high speed free internet will be provided to all. In addition in certain public offices like NKDA, PHE etc, broadband internet connection would be provided. Furthermore, as per my suggestion, there will be a provision for giving house level broadband connection on demand at reasonable costs. The project would be done on a hybrid PPP model and bid documents would be prepared soon by KPMG.
Ei Samay dt 9 June 2016

Ei Samay dt 9 June 2016

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Whats App Group for Media

At the Town Hall meeting last Friday by Hon'ble CM, we have been advised to convey important events or achievements on a day to day basis to Nabanna (I&CA Department). I held a meeting yesterday and decided to form a WhatsApp Group among CEOs of all 13 Development Authorities of our UD Department where such news can be sent for the previous day by 12 noon daily. I will then select the ones to be sent to Nabanna by 1 pm daily. An email has been sent accordingly to all along with a clipping from a newspaper (Aajkal)  that carried this story on Saturday. In course of a meeting with CEO KMDA today morning, I also sensitized him about this WhatsApp Group that I would monitor myself.
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Times of India dt 7 June 2016

Millennium Post dt 7 June 2016

Ei Samay dt 7 June 206

Monday, June 6, 2016

Citizen Involvement in Greening New Town

From NKDA, we are organising a unique contest among citizen groups of New Town's greening efforts. Those who take up plantation in this monsoon season can give their details to NKDA by 15 August 2016. NKDA officers will inspect and record the planting details including photographs. By next Environment Day , 2017 June 5, the group with maximum number of surviving trees will get a certificate and medal. Details are posted on NKDA website: see
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Khabar 365 dt 6 June 2016

ToI dt 6 June 2016

ToI dt 6 June 2016
Sanmarg dt 6 June 2016

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Green Building Seminar

In New Town, 10% extra FAR is permitted to Green Buildings.
Under Smart City Plan, the target is to have 80% of the new buildings to be Green Buildings.
In order to sensitize architects, engineers and house-owners, NKDA will organise a one-day workshop in collaboration with TERI at Rabindra Tirtha on 25th June 2016.
This will also be a part of the the "Green-City, New Town" campaign.
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Khabar 365 dt 5th June 2016

Ei Samay dt 5 June 2016

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Green Smart New Town Kolkata

Tomorrow is World Environment Day. Many citizen groups are observing the day in New Town by planting saplings. We have got several requests from Block Welfare Associations and Corporates like Power Grid Corporation etc to indicate site where tree plantation can be carried out on 5th June or soon thereafter. The AB -AE Block Welfare Committee  came in a group yesterday and requested me to join them at a tree plantation programme at 7 o'clock in the morning (I was amazed by their enthusiasm, one said, being a late sleeper, he'd stay awake the night before !). We are also thinking of inviting a competition among housing welfare associations, senior citizen groups and corporates to award prizes on the maximum number of surviving seedlings after one year.

In the administrative meeting at Town Hall, Hon'ble Chief Minister stressed on the importance of making long term plans. The Smart City Plan that was approved by Govt of India recently spreads across five years and we are trying to put yearwise milestones. The Smart City Plan contains a major sub-programme entitled "Sustainable Environment" . There are many components to this program including creation of 12,750 sq m of shaded walkways, creating avenue and canal-side plantation and pocket forests. We will be implementing some of these shortly.

On behalf of Hidco, I have recently requested Forest Department to do a massive plantation this monsoon, preferably by converging other national programmes like Namami Gange (which has a component of plantation in Eco Park), compensatory forestry etc. While a detailed plan is under development, after a primary survey, it is expected to include 40,000 seedlings at various places of New Town. The plantations may start from 15 July while preparation and earthwork will start soon. The Plantation Plan is expected to be ready by tomorrow. Indeed, a Tall Tree nursery has already been set up along a canal in Action Area 1D.

Tall Tree Nursery of Forest Department in New Town
 In a recent meeting at Nabanna  last Wednesday, Hon'ble Chief Minister advised me to make New Town a Green City. Accordingly,  I had a long discussion yesteerday afternoon with the creative partner of Hidco, M/s Lintas about ways in which to engage citizens in the greening movement. They will come up with a strategy soon that will dovetail with the plan for making New Town a Green City.
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Salam Duniya dt 4 June 2016

Times of India dt 4 June 2016

Friday, June 3, 2016

Revenue Enhancement

In the Rabindra Tirtha meeting last Saturday, I talked of the necessity of increasing revenue in NKDA/HIDCO when possible. I outlined few strategies:
1. Enhance room utilisation at Najrul Tirtha, Rabindra Tirtha and Cafe Ekante.
2. Enhance footfalls in MWM, Eco Park, Najrul Tirtha Movies
3. Approach Corporate Houses with attractive packages for Cafe Ekante, Ekante Cottages and Utsari Glass House as well as use of halls/ auditorium of Swapna Bhor, R'Tirtha, New Town Mela Ground
4. Use innovative packaging like "Buy-1-Get-1-Free" as is already being done on weekdays for train ride in Eco Park
5. Optimise revenue collection using Smart Technology (Smart Machines for Car Parking and Ticketing already undertaken in Eco Park)
6. Try to diversify: On this, we are going to introduce Breakfast Module for Morning Walkers from 5 June. See pic blow
At Cafe Ekante from 5 June
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Salt Lake Telegraph dt 3 June 2016

Millennium Post dt 3 June 2016

Millennium Post dt 3 June 2016


Thursday, June 2, 2016

Support for Second Round of Smart Cities.

Ministry of Urban Development, Govt of India, will give handholding assistance to the three other probable smart cities of Bidhannagar, Durgapur and Haldia at Delhi on 6th June. All other left-out smart cities within the 100 shortlisted ones will also be helped likewise through workshops at different times in the week from 6-10 June 2016. These "studio workshops" will be held to help the cities to upgrade their proposals. Respective Municipal Commissioners / other officers have been advised to attend. Incidentally, 20 Light House and 13 Fast Track Smart Cities (New Town Kolkata is one of these Fast Track cities) have already been selected through the City Challenge Round 1 while the remaining of the 100 have to work on improving their Smart City Plans before the second round.
This information reached me today vide letter no. K.14012/101(4) dt 1.6.2016 of the Under Secretary, MoUD
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Ei Samay dt 2 June 2016
Millennium Post dt 2 June 2016

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Eco Park footfall crosses 50 lakh today

Curator Eco Park Partha Ghosh informed me today that the number of footfalls in Eco Park just crossed 50 lakhs today. That would mean an average footfall of more than 4,000 daily, considering that he park was opened for public on 1 Jan 2013.
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I met Hon'ble Chief Minister for the first time after her tremendous electoral victory at a meeting on UD matters at Nabanna today afternoon. After the meeting I wished her good luck and also handed over a small cheque as a donation for the Chief Minister's Relief Fund on behalf of Hidco.
In the meeting, which was attended by MIC(UD), MIC(Housing), FM, CS, FS, Secretary Housing , Secretary MA and Pr Secy to CM, Hon'ble CM stressed on continuing with the theme cities and private townships as per policy. Later, it was decided that MIC(UD) and MIC(Housing) would hold a meeting with applicants and core committee members next Monday.
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Aajkal dt 1 June 2016