Monday, October 31, 2016

Tarapith Development

Here is a copy of an information release from the department (unedited):
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The Cabinet in its 11th Meeting dated 24.10.16 has approved the proposal for extension of  Tarapith Rampurhat Development Authority (TRDA)   to include 15  Mouzas in Rampurhat Block I with an area 39.933 Sq. Km. The jurisdiction of the authority originally covered a total of 56 mouzas, scattered across  95.79 sq. Km. Now, the area will increase by 40% for a comprehensive development of TRDA areas like road connectivity, drainage systems, by-pass roads in a holistic way. TRDA was constituted on 25th March , 2015 and so far 8 General Body meetings have been held.
Tarapith , the famous temple town of Bengal  draws nearly twenty thousand pilgrims on weekday and about fifty thousand on weekends. The number jumps to 1 lakh to three lakhs on festive occasions. There are nearly two hundred and eighty hotels of different categories. Tarapith , best  known for its tantric temple and its adjoining cremation grounds is also renowned for  Panch Mundi Mandir , Bam Dev Mandir at Atla, and Kali Mandir. One of the reasons for the fame of the Town is probably due to it being part of  108 Shakti Piths, One theory states that it is one of 51 Piths , a Holy site due to having Maa’s 3rd Eye.
With the formation of this Development Authority, various development activities including beautification of mandir surroundings with lights & pavers block , rehabilitation of Sadhus,  beautification of the Maha Samsan and Pancha Mundi Mandir, Tarapith Entry gate , Rampurhat by-pass road from Cho-Pukho to NH-60 via Pakuria , alternative exit road from Tak  Factory Road (Rampurhat Railway station) to Hospital  Canal More, underground parking facilities with shopping complex and fairground at Tarapith ,Construction of Row shops ,swimming pool at Rampurhat  were taken up. The Development Authority is taking up several schemes like  up gradation of pilgrims facilities at Maa Tara Mandir , creation of Mini Amusement park at Tarapith , river front amenities on left bank of River Dwarka, multi-storied parking cum bus-stand facility, removal of encroachments in the road side at Rampurhat and rehabilitation in the shopping complexes, passenger and parking amenities at various traffic junctions at Rampurhat ,new bridge over River Dwarka for connecting Kali Mandir at Udaipur, new bridge over River Dwarka for connecting Tarapith to Block HQ at Sahapur G.P, beautification of various roads at Tarapith & Rampurhat, creation of Sakhti Pith Hub at Tarapith , foot over bridge over river Dwarka to connect Maa Tara Mandir for  planned urbanisation.
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Times of India dt 31 Oct 2016

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Digital Technology in Eco Park

We are using more and more IT /ITeS applications to help visitors to Eco Park. Few examples:

1> The peak tourist season, with the advent of winter, is round the corner. There is usually a great rush on important festive days like Christmas, New Years' Day etc. Even otherwise, the popularity is soaring year-on-year; for example, there was a 23.89% increase in turnover of Eco Park in Durga Puja 2016 vs Durga Puja 2015. To give a seamless experience to visitors with little or no waiting, we have developed multiple-windowed glass-CC Camera-displayTV ticket counters that issue plastic RFID enabled cards (looks like debit cards). There are 5 automatic card operated gates in Entry Gate 1, and three each in gates 2, 3 and 4. These e-gates open as soon as the RFID card is inserted. This will prevent queues at entry gates.

2>  Option of using PayTM digital wallet has been introduced at each of the ticket counters. This prevents time and effort in dealing with changing cash. There are occasional cash-backs too, given by PayTM. Already this is proving to be quite attractive. During the very first 5 days of introduction just before the Pujas, more than 300 tickets were issued through PayTM. Use is increasing steadily.

3>  Water ATM at Gate 2. You insert Rs 2 coin and get one litre of pure water (chilled or normal temperature, your choice) that you can carry in your water bottle. Very popular.

4> CCTV and Public Address System: More CCTVs have been installed throughout Eco Park. Stone-looking speakers have been installed throughout the Eco Park that normally gives soft music but can be used during emergencies like lost children.

5> Automatic Car Parking: All three parking areas near Gates 1, 3 and 4 now have computer operated boom barriers that are card controlled. A floor mounted sensor detects the change in earth's magnetic field when a car is over it, activates a slot machine, gives out a card at the push of a button and read particulars at exit gate later. Exact, hassle-free payment at the exit makes the experience smooth.

6> The New Town Smart City Apps (Available in Google Play Store and Apple iOS store) gives audio guide facility for Eco Park. It also gives an account of other events in New Town.

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Ei Samay dt 29 Oct 2016

Times of India dt 30 Oct 2016

Millennium Post dt 30 Oct 2016

Millennium Post dt 30 Oct 2016
HT dt 30 Oct 2016

Friday, October 28, 2016


We are making a habitat for senior citizens on a plot opposite the community building of Swapna Bhor Seniors' Park. The ground breaking will tke place tomorrow. Mackintosh Burn has been awarded the contract to build it. There will be 102 rooms and the financial model is that whenever one vacates, 75% of the price paid on entry will be refunded to the occupant or his heirs. Cost of food and maintenance charges, will, however be charged on actuals, on a monthly basis. The plot is 1 acre in size and the time of completion would be 3 years. There will be a guest house with six rooms. The high point is that there will be a hydro therapy unit that is unique and effective. Occupants will be automatically eligible to be members of Swapna Bhor and can use the library, games and cultural activities. The name Snehaditya, as for Swapna Bhor, is given by Hon'ble Chief Minister.
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Salt Lake Telegraph

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

New Electricity Cash Office at AA2

Today morning, I, allong with MD NTESCL and other Hidco Engineers went to the utility building near Mangaldeep where eHC by CISCO/NH, NKDA Office, Gr D Recruitment Board and Post Office are already running. Now acash payment office has started functioning and will be fully operational by Monday next. This would be for post-paid consumers only for now. The prepaid cash deposits would start after two months.

Most of AA2''s consumers in New Town seem to prefer pre-paid meters. But the supply of meters is slow and as a result there are more postpaid that prepaid consumers overall. However, I came to know that pre-paid meters are more beneficial for the average consumer because (a) they get a 2% additional rebate (b) there is no security deposit to bother about and (c) you get a warning when balance falls below Rs 100.
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Dainik Statesman dt 26 Oct 2016

Khabar 365 dt 26 Oct 2016

Pratdin dt 26 Oct 2016

Aajkal dt 26 Oct 2016

Monday, October 24, 2016

100 residential plots in AA2B for allotment

The Standing Committee of the Cabinet today decided to allot 100 residential plots of sizes varying from 400 sq m to 150 sq m. on 99 years' leasehold basis to MIG and HIG persons. 75 will be allotted through lottery and 25 through auction, the slightly larges ones and nearer to broader roads generally being of the auction category. Some will be co-operative category too, from among the lottery group. Details are being worked out.
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Ei Samay dt 24 Oct 2016

Ei Samay dt 24 Oct 2016

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Greening Metro Piillars

For some time, I have been thinking of ways in which the dreary-looking sky-blocking elevated corridors of Metro / Road Flyovers could be converted into interesting street level art objects. I have learnt of citizen experiments in Kochi and Bangalore where certain stretches of Metro pillars were brightly painted by citizen groups or local chapter of Indian Institute of Architects (IIA) using bright spray paint or poster coloured graffiti paints. I had indeed given this as one of the six themes of a Design Hackathon  conducted with help of IIA in March this year at Rabindra Tirtha. However, although some of the six themes have fructified and being taken to the implementation stage (light sculpture in Eco Park and canal front development at Bagjola) , the Metro Pillar beautification project has not taken off.

It was then that I recalled that we had done a vertical garden at Eco Park (see picture below) and had also, separately, used creepers to camouflage walls of a sculpture garden at Eco Park. I invited senior officers of Forest Department to suggest if the concept could be used to make the metro pillars green. Of course, the complex iron lattice back-up of the vertical garden would not be appropriate for structural reasons and costs and so only creepers were to be considered.

The problem was that sunlight would not be available beneath such elevated structures. So the forest officers would have to locate appropriate species like money plants that we grow indoors. Dr K. Kunaldaivel, IFS, Deputy Conservator of Forest has been working on it and has just sent me the following photo. If the plants survive, we will escalate and extend to other pillars:

Experimenting with creepers to add green to metro pillars of
New Town

Vertical Garden in Eco Park near Gate 4
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Times of India dt 23 Oct 2016

Saturday, October 22, 2016

e District Services for New Town

Earlier this week, the IT Department showcased a number of digital solutions in a meeting at Nabanna. We from NKDA have since decided to avail of the e District Services for the following :

1. Building Plan Sanction
2. Water Connection
3. Completion Certificate
4. Death & Birth  Certificate
5. Trade Licence
6. Record of Title

Conversations have been initiated with Webel. Work on study of systems may start by November.
It may be added that NKDA is the only ULB in the state that fully uses online building plan sanction scheme for all plans. Even then, it has opted to be in sl 1 so as to ensure compatibility with other ULBs of the country
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Friday, October 21, 2016

Plastic Waste Management

We had a meeting today with Member Secretary Pollution Control Board, chief Engineer WBPCB, CEO NKDA Debapriya Biswas and Member Secretary NKDA Gopal Ghosh at Nagarayan Bhavan to discuss about the latest guidelines on Plastic Waste Management. I recalled that Coca Cola had showed me few days ago how plastic bottles can be recycled into yarns and then into cloth and shirts / T-shirts and bags etc. Photos on my mobile taken that day:

WBPCB explained to us the provisions of the new rules which mandated segregation of domestic waste, charging of fees from shops that use plastic bags and involving recyclers and ragpickers into the process. They would also give us some lists so that we can have a discussion on the way forward in so far s New Town's plastic handling is concerned.

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HT dt 21 Oct 2016

Ei Samay dt 21 Oct 2016

Millennium Post dt 2016

Khabar 365 dt 21 Oct 2016
t2  dt 21 Oct 2016

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Interaction with Puja Committees

Meeting with Puja Committees at Nandan 3
19 Oct 2016
I, along with Atri Bhattacharya, Pr Secretary I&CA Department held meeting with Puja Committees to discuss abut conservation and display of handicrafts and artworks of the Durga Puja at Eco Park, New Town. Several Committees came including Suruchi Sangha, AK Block Salt Lake, Ultadanga Pallishri, Sribhumi, Babubagan, Santoshpur Avenue, Kalighat Milan Sangha, Hindustan Park, Tala Baroari, Beliaghata 33 Palli, 75 Palli, Tridhara, Chetla Agrani etc. Others would be contacted by I&CA officers and details sent to UD by a week or so.

It was explained that durable exhibits like those made with fibre-glass, stone, steel etc could be kept outdoors in Eco Park while sensitive decorations made with wood, cotton, earth etc can only be kept indoors in a protected dust-proof environment. For outdoor installations, a brick and cement foundation with spotlights and fencing would be built by Hidco. For indoor objects, a room with air-conditioning facility would be kept in Mother's Wax Museum -II (to be shortly commissioned) till these are transported in another location within Eco Park which will have storage rooms. The exhibits would be rotated at suitable intervals. Installation at the new locations would be done by Hidco engineers in consultation with the artist / club concerned so as to optimise the displays after reinstallation.

Officers from Hidco would contact the nodal persons identified by the club and work out strategies and procedures. This will start from this Saturday with a visit to Suruchi Sangha. Meanwhile all were requested to preserve the articles carefully.
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Millennium Post dt 20 Oct 2016

Monday, October 17, 2016


I reviewed the following projects intesively today:

1. State Convention Centre
2. MWM-2
3. Japanese Garden
4. Bagjola Canalfront beautification
5.  SGO Complex
6. STP Bagjola
7. Road upgradation
8. Smart Pole: Pilot Project
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ToI dt 17 Oct 2016

Ei Samay dt 17 Oct 2016

Khabar 365 dt 17 Oct 2016

Khabar 365 dt17 Oct 2016
Asian Age dt 17 Oct 2016

Sunday, October 16, 2016

National Poetry Festival

A few days ago, organisers of New Town Book Fair met me and discussed about their plans to have a national level poetry festival along with the annual New Town Book Fair that is usually organised by them at the Clock Tower City Plaza some time in February-March every year. This time, they plan to do the book fair and the 'Kobita Utsav' in the Swapna Bhor grounds adjoining the New Town Mela Ground which is close to Rabindra Tirtha. The timings would be preponed to December year end when a large number of visitors come to Eco Park, Wax Museum, Eco Urban Village and New Town Mela (scheduled on 24 Dec 2016 - 1 January 2017).

I recalled that the Jaipur Literature Festival also started in a modest scale a decade ago and like it, the National Poetry Festival and New Town Book Fair (proposed name by the organizers) could also celebrate poets from around the state, country and the world. They have already contacted Assam as a partner poetry state. There could be some poets from Bangladesh and other countries as well. Poems in English, Bangla, Hindi and other languages could be recited by poets from their own creations, they said. Further details would be worked out soon.
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Indian Express dt 16 Oct 2016

Times of India dt 16 Oct 2016

Khabar 365 dt 16 Oct 2016

(Top and below) Aajkal dt 16 Oct 2016

Bartaman dt 16 Oct2016

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Planning for showcasing in Eco Park

Yesterday's immersion carnival exhibited many art objects. Hon'blr CM has advised that these may be preserved and showcased aesthetically in Eco Park. I spoke to Atri Bhattacharya, Principal Secretary I&CA and we decided to hold a meeting with Puja Committees on Wednesday at 4pm at Nandan. I spoke to Sivaji Ghosh, IPS and obtained a list of the 39 Puja Committees and their nodal persons. I will hold a meeting with Hidco Engineers and Architects tomorrow afternoon.
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Ei Samay dt 15 Oct 2016

Khabar365 dt 15 Oct 2016

Friday, October 14, 2016

Review of Convention Centre

On Monday afternoon, the very day the offices reopen after Pujas, I will hold a detailed meeting with the engineers, architects and consultants of the Biswa Bangla State Convention Centre to review the progress and take stock. We have a target of completing within this Financial Year 2016-17. Wearehaving several serious enquiries on the availability of the convention centre in 2017-2018. Even yesterday, I got a telephonic enquiry from a medical organisation for a convention in August 2018. While structural work has mostly been completed, a huge amount of effort and co-ordination is required to do the finishing works.

We have also started thinking about operations. It has been decided that the Connvention Centre portion will be run, marketed and operated by Hidco on its own, much like the way Vigyan Bhavan in Delhi is operated. The annexed 100-key hotel will however be operated through a PPP mode and a Request for Proposal has already been drawn up and published ( ). The operations will be on a revenue sharing mode.

We are also in the process of face-lifting the canal front adjoining the Convention Centre. A design exercise and survey have already begun.
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Salt Lake Telegraph dt 14 Oct 2016

Thursday, October 13, 2016

New Town Puja Winners

The results of the Puja winners of New Town was announced today at the Immersion Ghat at Upasanasthal. The prizes are given by NKDA. A selection cmmittee consisting of several residents and officials headed by a retired justice makes the two-step selection. This is as follows:

Housing / Abasan Category
 Overall: Balaka (1st), Uniworld (2nd), Sukhobrishti (3rd)
Pratima:: Uniworld (1st), Sparsh (2nd), Akanksha (Joint 3rd), Greenfield Ambition (Jt 3rd)
Pandal: Balaka (1st), Sunrise Point (2nd), Greenfield Ambition (3rd)
Environment: Sunrise Point (1st), Sukhobrishti (Joint 2nd), Sparsh (Joint 2nd), Uttara (Joint 3rd), Akanksha (Joint 3rd)
Block Category:
Overall: 1B (1st), Alakai (2nd), BC (3rd)
Pratima : 1B (1st), 1D (Joint 2nd), Alakai (joint 2nd), Jatragachi (3rd)
Pandal: BD (1st), 1D (2nd), (1CA-CD) (3rd)
Environment: BD (1st), BC (2nd), 1CA-CD(Joint 3rd), CE (Joint 3rd)

Most immersions took place on 11th Oct when there was a congestion with many coming in from Salt Llake and neighbourhood too. We decided to explore the possibility of installing a conveyor belt system at the immersion ghat for quicker immersion of idols. I advised NKDA Engineer to go to Mumbai to study the design used during Ganesh Chaturvedi immersions in Mumbai
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Millennium Post dt 13 Oct 2016

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Second Ticket Counter

The second ticket counter for Najrul Tirtha opened today afternoon. This was an outcome of the second screen at Najrul Tirtha.
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Millennium Post dt 8 Oct 2016

Khabar 365 dt 8 Oct 2016

Asian Age dt 8 Oct 2016

Friday, October 7, 2016

"The Complete Walk" in Eco Park in December 2016 :

With Mr Alan Gemmell, Minister Cultural Affars, British Council
New Delhi, me and Debanjan Chakraborty, Director British
Council at Hidco on 6 Oct 2016
Yesterday, I met British Council's Alan Gemmell and Debanjan Chakraborty to discuss about the possibility of holding a version "The Complete Walk" at Eco Park for two weeks during 20 December 2016 - 6 January 2017 (tentative dates). The Walk will recreate an experiment done on the banks of Thames in London featuring audio-visual clips on several short creations from Shakespeare's plays. ( see link ). This would be done jointly by Hidco and the British Council on a collaborative basis. It may be positioned on the waterfront near the herbal garden.
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