Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Designer Wi Fi Hot Spot

Suman Neogy, Debashis Datta, me, Sutanu Kar,
Debapriya Biswas and Arup Ghosh:
29th Nov 2016

Yesterday, we launched the first designer Wi Fi Hot Spot in New Town Kolkata. This is at the first rotary traffic island, near the Bus Stand. The design is made by a team from IIT Kharagpur led by Prof Dr D Pandit. The fabrication of the white metal structure is done by an engineering team led by Suman Neogy, GM, Hidco. The bandwidth / router is provided by NTTIDCO, a joint venture company of Hidco.
The idea is to universalise access to internet, create public spaces that encourages real-life socializing (not only on facebook !: see the number of people already making use of it in the lower picture). We will analyse the responses received from the pilot ptoject and then spread out to 60 odd locations in New Town already identified by the IIT Team
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Khabar 365 st 30 Nov 2016

Anandabazar dt 30 Nov 2016

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Green City Mission Launched

Minister Firhad Hakim, me, Talleen Kumar, Pr Secy IT
At Nazrul Tirtha today, Minister Firhad Hakim launched the Green City Mission by watering a plant and inaugurating a website ( ). All Municipal Chairpersons of the state were invited and many came with their officers. Tallen Kumar, IAS Pr Secy IT, Raju Das, IFS, MD, WBWDCL, Sudip Datta, COO BUIDL, Anindya Chattopadhyay, Special Secretary  Power, Mani Pradhan, Director SUDA, Ms Shakuntala Ghosh, Chairpeerson IGBC (Eastern India), CII etc also spoke. S Mukherjee, JS and I presented on behalf of UD/ Hidco. A proforma was given for benchmarking that will be the baseline for implementing the mission. A WhasApp Group was also to be formed

Monday, November 28, 2016

Meeting on Modern State of the Art Public Digital Library in Kolkata

We had today a meeting in Hidco with Mass Education Department and C-DAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing) to explore the possibility of setting up a modern digital library in New Town. Mr Manish Jain, IAS, Principal Secretary, Mass Education and Library Department, Director of Library Services, Col (Retd) A K Nath, Executive Director CDAC, and Sutanu Kar JMD Hidco, Supriya Bagchi, Chief Engineer, all were there. A powerpoint presentation was shown by Library Department. Web based intelligent digital library features were explained. I added that we'd prefer (a) large print reprints of popular books for the senior citizens (b) a stock of rentable Kindle machines with backlit screen for reading in the dark without disturbing sleep of others and with selected book downloaded (c) a coffee shop (d) Wi Fi and (d) on-line membership of specialised web libraries for use by professionals such as law / medicine professionals.

The department will revert soon after doing some further homework.
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Millennium Post dt 28 Nov 2016

Times of India dt 28 Nov 2016

ToI dt 28 Nov 2016

Bartaman dt 28 Nov 2016
Khabar 365 dt 28 Nov 2016

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Bhutan Japan

The Buddha Statue that was installed in Suruchi Sangha during last Durga Puja has been installed in Japanese Garden. Suruchi had created a Bhutanese monastry as the Puja Pandel. I took the photo today. The Japanese Garden is slated to open in late December after a Japanese expert comes to see and suggest changes, if any.  In the Japanese Garden, there will be a pagoda, prayer wheels, wishing pool, aromatic walk, rows of Budhdhas, beautiful landscape and lighting, a Japanese restaurant, a souvenir shop and Japanese plants.
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India Today dt 5 Dec 2016
(Simply Kolkata)

Saturday, November 26, 2016


We introduced PayTM just before Pujas this year. We were lucky to have done so as soon after that (8 Nov) the demonetization hit us. Crowd in Eco Park, Wax Museum etc has dropped but PayTM collections have shown a steep rise as the following data shows:
PayTM Collections (in Rs)

I got the data today from A Saif, Finance Officer. In the morning, I did a review of the performance of the Biswa Bangla Convention Centre being done by L&T. I was told that due to demonetization, many workers were absent for several days and that has an adverse effet on completion time.
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Millennium Post dt 26 Nov 2016

Friday, November 25, 2016

Snehodiya: Senior Citizen Habitat

The Hidco Board met today and approved the Old Age Habitat project called Snehodiya. (See for earlier post in this blog) The cost implications were analysed and settled as about Rs 25 lakh as security deposit of which 75% of the amount deposited would be refunded to the legal heir of the occupant / applicant on demise / departure. Monthly fee of Rs 16,000 would be payable for all services including food, security, floor-wise attendant etc. 10% discount on single occupancy, all suites being double bedded. Senior Citizens eligible would be 50 years old or more; this is a bit of a deviation from the usual 60 year definition of senior citizens since often a 60+ husband may like to be accompanied by his wife who may not yet be 60.

We decided to open up a helpdesk at Swapna Bhor Community Room (Ground Floor) once the scheme is launched. We plan to involve senior citizen members of Swapna Bhor to man these helpdesks and I have requested Manager Swapna Bhor to seek options from members. 2-6 pm on all days except Monday the help desks manned by seniors would be open to help clarify doubts and sell brochures too, although brochures would be available from banks too.

We will soon have a meeting with bankers to see how they can help applicants. We will also have a networking meet with other senior citizen groups: Dignity Foundation, for example, has already showed an interest in knowing further details.

We plan to launch the scheme in 2016 itself.
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Times of India dt 25 Nov 2016

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Green City Mission

A meeting with all Municipalities of the State will be held on 29th November 2016 to discuss about the Green City Mission. Hon'ble Minister Firhad Hakim will preside. Venue: Rabindra Tirtha, New Town.
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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Land plot for police linnes

The Standing Committee of the Cabinet allotted 1.65 acres of land at Action Area III for seting up police lines for the Commissioner of Police Bidhannagar. The Cabinet meeting took place on Monday last
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Khabar 365 dt 23 Nov 2016

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


'Lau' in day cottage of Urban Eco Village
Photo taken yesterday

Winters are for Picnics in Bengal. New Town has a fair number of spots designed for picnics, at a very reasonable rate. You just have to book in advance. The five spots are:

1-3: Picnic spots near Upasanasthal, on the bank of a water-way, amidst green lawns / trees. Pay-n-Use Toilets are there, along with kitchen / dining sheds. Close to Tata Medical Centre, opposite bank of Tall Tree Nursery
4-5. Picnic spots at Eco Urban Village with kitchen/dining sheds, huge water body, boating available on request, angling permitted on purchase of ticket, car parking available, four day cottages (see pic above), migratory birds, pay-n-use toilet and a beautiful central akhra for adda (designed by Rupchand Kundu).

With the success of the Puja Parikrama by members of Swapna Bhor (Seniors' Park), we have arranged / planned for a picnic for the members on first week of January to Taki. A bus will be provided by Hidco but all costs including fuel, food etc will be equally shared by members who opt to go. A similar model was followed for the Puja Bhraman with a great deal of success: many members were effusively narrating their experiences to me after the event.

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Khabar 365 dt 22 Nov 2016

Millennium Post dt 22 Nov 2016

Monday, November 21, 2016

Consultative Meeting with Empanelled Architects and Engineers

At Rabindra Tirtha auditorium this afternoon, we held a consultative meeting with all architects and engineers empanelled with NKDA to increase awareness on adopting better design and construction management processes. Attention was drawn to the recent amendment of NKDA Rules that discourage dumping of construction materials on roads. NKDA has also agreed to give a service for removing construction and demolition waste from a site at a given cost per ton.

It was urged upon the participants that dumping of construction materials and C&D Waste on roads, drains, culverts and sewerage pipes were causing severe problems. New procedures for renting vacant land, site construction in phases, use of RMC/ prefabricated beams, use of empty plots with prior permission, real-time monitoring of trucks while unloading sand/bricks, use of polythene sheets on ground to avoid leakage into drains, indicating the rule on good construction practices etc were some of the suggestions that were adopted during the discussions.
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HT dt 21 Nov 2016

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Smart Water

As if magic ! Water from thin air ! Water fit to drink, pure like bottled water but no water source required.

I saw a demonstration yesterday evening at Nazrul Tirtha garden:

The device, which was of size slightly larger than a typical RO / aquaguard wall mounted water purifier that we often use in offices and home, was laid out at the garden of Nazru Tirtha. Only an electrical plug point was needed. I drank a glass of water: it tasted quite OK.

How can  it produce water without a water input ? See the pic below (I asked them to unscrew and show the machinery inside):

Air is sucked in and cooled to 4 deg C. Water vapour condenses and is collected. It is filtered and stored. A tap in the exterior enables sparkling drinking water to be collected in a glass.

The model shown had a capacity of 15 litres. There are higher capacity ones too, I was told. It works even on low humidity conditions in winter: the sensible practice is to leave it on in the night for the internal reservoir to be filled up.

We have put in a coin operated German Technology Water ATM in Gate 2 of Eco Park. We have collaborated with Rupa Trust to put in three water kiosks in New Town markets / car park. I talked to GM Suman Neogy that we may install this machine (trademarked as Akash Ganga) at Mother's Wax Museum canteen to see how the performance is. Then we can put in few places (Gate 3 Eco Park, Police Outposts, Traffic Signal kiosks, Deer Park, Eco Urban Park etc) in phases.
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Aajkal dt 20 Nov 2016

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Meditation Exercises to Continue

Upasanasthal at New Town
Weekend meditation / yoga classes are proving to be a great hit.

We started initially for three months. At Upasanasthal, near Immersion Ghat Picnic Spot. On Saturdays and Sundays. Trainer is Ms Aditi De, a resident of New Town. The three months were free and NKDA paid the trainer's honorarium.

After 3 months, participants agreed to share the cost of the trainer. We continued for another 6 months. Each participant paid Rs 100 pm. On an average there are 50 participants. Classes start at 6 am on Saturdays and Sundays.

The 3 month period will be over this month. On popular request, we have decided to extend the classes to another 6 months @ Rs 150 pm so that not only the trainer's cost but also electricity and cleaning charges. So it is now fully viable. We are glad to continue to provide a service that is valued by the residents of New Town on a self-sustaining model basis.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Smart Pole Demonstration in front of New Town Business Cllub

Day before yesterday, a working smart pole was demonstrated by Energesia, an Indo Swedish Company. The pilot pole is installed in front of New Town Business Club's main gate. Anyone can see.
The company representatives showed is the LED street light lamps, the CCTV (I could see the images on a nearby laptop), the air quality monitor (I could see on my mobile when I connected on Wi Fi coming from the pole), the video on the displays, the Wi Fi connectivity to the internet. We were told that the LED lights and displays on kiosks could be remotely controlled.
The pole (12m) is quite taller than the usual street poles (8m). an underground box of size 5ftx4ft is glass covered and water-tight (IP65 compliant, they said, like the new iPhone7)  and contain sophisticated electronics hardware including repeaters and boosters of cell phone signals. At the flick of a button, the glass box rose from the underground using hydraulic motors and stopped at a table-top height where engineers could service the machinery and change settings).
The cost, we were told, would be considerably higher than usual light poles and a PPP model may be worked out in the near future.
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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

First Arbitration in New Town Business and Arbitration Centre

Yesterday, the first arbitration sitting took place at the New Town Business and Arbitration Centre at the 4th Floor of the  building that houses the National Green Tribunal . A pic:
Justice Asim Banerjee (Retd) holding arbitration at NTBAC
The centre was created to encourage investment and business in the state and is a step forward towards making West Bengal business friendly. The Centre has Wi Fi, Video Conference, Cafeteria, Library, Consultation Chamber, Work Stations - all in a professionally designed decor. The centre is suitable for board meets and conferences, legal and arbitration proceedings, client and sales meetings, brainstorming sessions, interview and training and for start ups. There are three composite units and the facilities can be rented on an hourly basis at rates of Rs 1,180 - 1,540 per hour. Wi Fi is free. VC is Rs 250 per hour except the first hour which is Rs 500.
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Asian Age dt 15 Nov 2016

Monday, November 14, 2016

1,000 / 500 demonetisation

In facebook, I already posted on 8 Nov Tuesday how I went after dinner to get few Rs 100 notes from Bikash Bhavan ATM after queuing. That was personal to me.

Since then, I mention below few impacts that I've experienced on the office front.
- A self contributed fair was slated to be organised yesterday (Sunday) at New Town Business Club. Members and their families were quite enthusiastic of bringing in home cooked food to sell or handicrafts to be displayed. This had to be called off and postponed because there was a lack of small cash with members.
- Day before yesterday, on Saturday, the footfall in Eco Park (4,936) was low because of lack of cash. After one more day, with ATMs giving some money out, yesterday the footfall rose (10,166). While part of the rise was because of it was a Sunday, feedback suggests that new notes are coming in and there was an issue in judging the new Rs 2,000 notes (counters received 5 such yesterday) because the existing fake-note-detector-machines were not able to detect. Of course, PayTM inputs also rose from 168 on Saturday to 225 on Sunday.
- Day before yesterday, at Cafe Ekante, in the evening, diners' debit / credit cards could not be charged as the swipe POS machines showed "comm error". We insisted on Rs 100 payments.  We even allowed 3-4 diners to pay with old 500/1,000 because the machines didn't work and they didn't have 100 rs notes on them.
- Motorycles have to pay Rs 20 as parking fees in Eco Park. Last Wednesday, 5 bikers were still stranded at 8pm (Park closes at 7.30 pm in Winter) because they only had Rs 500. There was a stalemate and we decided to accept the notes only for these last 5 bikes.
- Officers and staff have been asking for - and we have been allowing - a couple-of-hours' absence to go to banks to change cash.
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Khabar 365 dt 14 Nov 2016

Times of India dt 14 Nov 2016

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Pre Bid Meeting with Operators for Hotel with Convention Centre

Last week, on 10th Nov, I held a pre-bid meeting with operators interested in participating in bids for running the 100-key hotel attached to the Biswa Banga Convention Centre. Participants included Novotel, Swisshotel, Pride, Lalit Great Eastern, Park Hotel, and few others. I explained that participation in pre-bid conference was not compulsory and clarifications would be given on the web site by our Transaction Advisors Feedback Infra.

I mentioned the following:
- that the structural portion would be handed over without last finishing and without lose furniture
-  that operator would get real-time infoormation on the Convention Hall bookings whch are already pouring in
- that e-auction would be based on whoever gives the maximum revenue share over and above a fixed annual guarantee fee as specified in tender document
- that the most important aspect of the partnership would be to have a symbiotiic relatonship between Hidco (who would run the Convention Centre) and the operator (who would bring brannd recall).

There was a site visit after the meeting.

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Khabar 365 dt 13 Nov 2016

Saturday, November 12, 2016

KIFF commences in Nazrul Tirtha

Lamp Lighting at KIFF at Nazrul Tirtha on 12 Nov 2016
Today morning at 10 am, through a small ceremony at Najrul Tirtha Hall 1, the 22nd KIFF 2016 began its journey at Nazrul Tirtha. This is the third year that we are having KIFF in NTirtha. The ceremony started with a dance performance by Mrinalini Biswas and a lamp lighting by Sudeshna Roy, Director, Abhijit Guha Co-Director and Gargi Ray Chowdhury, Actress of Amake Banchte Dao, the film that was shown as the inaugural film at Netaji Indoor Stadium yesterday and one that is slated to be commercially released in N'Tirtha on 2 Dec 2016.

Inaugural performance at N Tirtha
There will be four shows a day. Nazrul Tirtha Hall will be used by KIFF for evaluating competitive entries.
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Millennium Post dt 12 Nov 2016

Aajkal dt 12 Nov 2016

The Statesman dt 12 Nov 2016

Pratidin dt 12 Nov 2016

Friday, November 11, 2016

MWM-2 today

There are 48 wax/wax-like models in MWM now, with 23 additions in MWM2. The new additions are as follows (barring Aliens / Children/ Scary and Children Zones):

2) RAJA RAMMOHAN RAY - Renowned Social Reformer
3) ISHWAR CHANDRA VIDYASAGAR - Key Figure Of Bengal Renaissance
4) RISHI AUROBINDO - Indian Nationalist, Philosopher.
5) PANDIT RAVI SHANKAR- Legendary Sitar Player.
6) HEMANTA MUKHERJEE - Eminent Playback Singer.
7) SATYAJIT RAY - The Great Writer and Film-Maker.
8) SATYENDRA NATH BOSE - Eminent Bengali Physicist and Mathematician.

1) MICHAEL JACKSON - Eminent Singer and Philanthropist
2) TOM CRUISE - Eminent Hollywood Actor and his best movies are "Mission Impossible", "Magnolia" etc.
3) JOHNY DEPP - Eminent Actor, Producer and his famous movies includes "Pirates Of The Caribbean".
4) BRUCE WILLIS - Eminent Actor, Producer, and Singer. Best movies includes "Die Hard","The Jackal
5) BRUCE LEE - Eminent Actor and Martial Artist. His Best Movies are "Enter the Dragon","Fist Of Fury"
6) BRAD PITT - Eminent Hollywood Actor. His Best Movies are "Ocean's Eleven","Mr and Mrs Smith".
7) ANGELINA JOLIE - Hollywood Actress, Film-Maker and Humanitarian. Best Movies are "Mr and Mrs Smith","Salt","By The Sea" etc.
8) DANIEL CRAIGE- Eminent Hollywood Actor, is most famous for his role as James Bond. His Best Movies are "Skyfall" ,"Spectre".
9)JULIA ROBERTS - Eminent Hollywood Actress.Her Best Movies includes "Pretty Woman","Erin Brocovich","Notting Hill".
10)NICHOLE KIDMAN - Eminent Australian Actress. Her Best Movies are "Eyes Wide Shirt","Moulin Rogue".
11)AUDREY HEPBURN - Eminent British Actress and recognized as a Film and Fashion Icon. Her Best Movies are "Breakfast at Tiffany","Roman Holiday","My Fair Lady" etc.

1) MR. BEAN - Famous Comedy Character.

1) ALBERT EINSTEIN - One of the greatest scientists, ,nobel laureate.

1) LIONEL MESSI - Eminent Argentine Footballer.

The artists are Susanta Roy and Subimal Das. This will be inaugurated today afternoon by Hon'ble Chief Minister by remote from Netaji Indoor Stadium. Visitors can enter from tomorrow. MWM1 was inaugurated by Hon'ble CM on 10 Nov 2014 from Netaji Indoor Stadium by remote. Since then, 3.23 lakh (3,22,670 to be precise) visitors have gone in. Here is the advertisement that has been published today.

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Khabar 365 dt 11 Nov 2016

Millennium Post dt 11 Nov 2016

Khabar 365 dt 10 Nov 16

Ei Samay dt 10 Nov 2016
The Statesman dt 10 Nov 2016
Jugasankha dt 10 Nov 2016