Saturday, June 24, 2017

Removing illegal cables overhead

At Sector 5
In New Town, NTTIDCO is a joint venture company of Hidco that is responsible for laying underground ducts for allowing cables for internet and TV to be drawn through it. A minimum rent is obtained for covering the costs and for giving the right of way. Even then, in some fringe areas, there are some overhead cables and these are systematicaly removed from time to time in New Town. Special drives were conducted recently.

The problem in Sector 5 however is much more acute. There is no such NTTIDCO equivalent and so NDITA itself has laid underground ducts. I have held meeting with cable operators and explained that not only is this a visual pollution, it is dangerous for the street light poles as these are not designed to carry the load of the innumerable cables. I also told that it is also illegal, as the poles were govt property on govt land and no permission has ever been given. On the same grounds, I reminded them, during elections, the Election Commission prohibits putting up of flags, bnners etc on poles.

We made a Committee consisting of cable operators and engineers of NDITA. They formed a WhatsApp group among them. All help, often not cheap either, was provided when considered by the committee. Date-lines were set, and not adhered to. Street no 13 (Wipro to Ring Road via College More) was targeted first.

After several appeals and last extended days, NDITA itself started cutting the cables (see pic taken yesterday). There are a few murmurs but agencies understand that now we too mean business.
The whole operation will take several months. But a beginning has been made.
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Millennium Post dt 24 June 2017
Khabar 365 dt 24 June 2017

Friday, June 23, 2017

Eco Park Tea

CMD Andrew Yule Mr Sushil Munshi handing over a packet of
Eco Park Tea to me at Hidco Bhavan

Last week, Mr Sushil Munshi, CMD of Andrew Yule handed over a packet of Eco Park Tea to me at Hidco Bhavan.

A 3-acre plot of land was developed as a tea garden at Eco Park. It has taken a good shape now. Andrew Yule has partnered with Hidco in giving technical guidance and maintaining it. Saplings and earth was brought in by Andrew Yule while gardening and workers were provided by Hidco. A nearby exquisitely beautiful Tea Lounge - designed by Dulal Mukherjee and Associates and built by Engineering wing of Hidco - is also being run by Andrew Yule as a Tea Lounge. The Tea Lounge is used by Andrew Yule on the basis of a rental agreement with Hidco.

Now tea from the tea garden of Eco Park has been hand rolled and processed as ready-to-use tea bags. I too tasted a cup and seemed ok though a bit strong to my taste. I will now use the pack to serve Eco Park tea to the officers at my weekly meetings of Hidco (every Tuesday) and NKDA (every Thursday).

CMD Andrew Yule and I discussed the possibilities of having a small demonstration tea production unit or a Tea Museum at the Eco Park Tea Garden.
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Ei Samay dt 23 June 2017
Salt Lake Telegraph dt 23 June 2017

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Lottery Continues: at Nazrul Mancha

At Nazrul Mancha
Nazrul Mancha

The third day of the lottery was conducted peacefully at Nazrul Mancha today. Out of 1400 applicants, 25 won the plots in the lottery
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Bartaman dt 22 June 2017

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Pilot Bus Information Planned

Yesterday, we had a large meeting with transport department officers led by Mr N S Nigam IAS, MD, WBTC and Hidco/NKDA officers to discuss about various issues on public transportation. After detailed discussions, we agreed to the following:
1. A bus route study would be done by Transport Department to see how existing bus routes can be modified or new bus routes need to be introduced to cater to the rapidly changing demaographic pattern of New Town, with special emphasis to AA1D and AA2.
2. A pilot scheme of installing live bus arrival information (Next S12 will come in 2 minutes...etc) will be installed in two bus stands near Nazrul Tirtha in New Town and Ring Road in Sector 5. TV and internet will be provided by NKDA/NDITA while software will be provided by Transport Department
3. A transport liaison cell will be set up in New Town to continuously co-ordinate with Transport Department
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Times of India dt 21 June 2017

Ei Samay dt 21 June 2017

Millennium Post dt 21 June 2017
Bartaman dt 21 June 2017

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Lottery of 75 Plots Starts

The first lot of lottery of 75 plots in Action Area 2 started at Karigari Bhavan Auditorium today morning. The first lot was for public sector co-operatives. Lottery is conducted in manual mode. That is, plastic tokens are made bearing the UAN (Unique Application Numbers) and put by applicants present in the hall into a round drum, one by one, after reading the UANs out.Thereafter, the successful applicants are  selected by another participant from the sphere.
Unsuccessful applicants will have their money refunded through netbanking / card account within two weeks.
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Millennium Post dt 20 June 2017

Khabar 365 dt 20 June 2017

Aajkal dt 20 June 2017
Dainik Statesman dt 20 June 2017
Ekdin dt 21 June 2017

Monday, June 19, 2017

New Jetting Machine for Sector V

New Jet cum Suction Machine for Sector 5

Nabadiganta Water Management Co today launched a new jetting cum suction machine to clean sewerage lines more efficiently.
It can also be used, if required, to clean choked storm water drainage lines. Although NWM is not responsible for water drainage, they said they'd provide the machine if required (on rent).

Independently, we decided to request NWM to provide water on a per litre basis to street food kiosks, as was desired in the meeting of hawkers held last week. They agreed, a a tentative cost of 50p per litre.

NWM is also giving recycled water to agencies of NDITA engaged for watering roadside or median plantations.

At NDITA, in an internal meeting, we decided to hire mechanical sweeping machines with GPS trackers (as is being done in New Town) for keeping the streets clean.
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(Top and below) Khabar 365 dt 19 Jue 2017

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Golf Driving Range Starts at Eco Park's Golf Arena

12-bay Golf Driving Range Starts on Sunday 18th June 
Laxman Singh, me, Neil Law
Board at New Town Business Club today

With the first shot by 'Bunny' Laxman Singh (1982 Asiad Gold Medal winner), and members of New Town Business Club, officers of NKDA and HIDCO, golfers and others, we launched the 12-bay driving range today. Even in the early Sunday morning, (8.30 am), there were many participants. Tea Lounge sponsored delicious chicken sandwiches and fine iced tea. Business Club opened a membership desk for the day. Eco Park opened a spot registration desk. Neil Law's Adventure Sports provided golf buckets and clubs. With 100, 150...250 yard lengths marked in prominent yellow labels all over the ground, the air was quite electric. Mr Singh remarked that he was quite surprised to see how well the course had turned out and said that with 10 year or so waiting periods in established golf clubs of the city, this was a great addition to Kolkata's inventory.

I remarked that we would soon make this a 9-hole 3 par course beyond driving hours (6am-9am, 4pm-6pm, except n Mondays). There would also be lockers, shower rooms and cafeteria. Clubs would be available on rent (Rs 100) but players can bring in their own too. Golf buckets would however have to be rented @ Rs 100 for 50 balls and bringing in of own golf balls are not allowed. For New Town Business Club members, there would be free entry and free car parking. Also for Cafe Ekante room guests and monthly card holders of Eco Park (Rs 600 for a month). Room Guests of other hotels in and around New Town would have to pay Rs 300 per day per head. Training sessions for young boys and girls would be organised @ Rs 1,000 per month with 4 sessions a month.

All in all, it was an enthusiastic start for a new era in golfing as a sport for all.
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Khabar 365 dt 18 June 2017

Friday, June 16, 2017

Hawker Rehabilitation

New Hawker Zone near DC of Police Office

Yesterday, at Sector V (Nabadiganta) I had a detailed meeting with hawkers of Sector 5. We discussed all issues that they had to flag. At the end of a two-hour session, I asked them to nominate three local representatives with whom we could take actions together. Incidentally, one of the three was a lady with a post graduate degree. And one of the others asked my email address for keeping in touch.
I told that we were not adversaries: the govt principle, I said, is to first rehabilitate them with due consultation (I talked of the successful ones in New Town - see Telegraph story below) and prevent, with all our might, new encroachments. They agreed. And vowed to inform us if any new ones tried to set up new stalls.
I told that till this happened, let's do some improvements. We'd set up few Pay-n-Use Toilets if they showed us where they wanted these and if there were no technical problems (water out drainage and sewerage lines and water inlets, and space) . They said they are exploited by generator operators, water suppliers by getting charged too much. I said we'd try to make water available (l'll talk to JUSCO the water providers, to set up a sale counter; on Monday, I'll meet them in a function). I said LPGs were dangerous and they said the'd use induction heaters if these could be provided by corporates and they got a power connection meter. I said, I'd already approached few NGOs and Corporates (let's see). I requested them to keep the areas clean, use bins and we'd provide covered bins as many as they wish. They talked about some customers not paying attention to their request to use bins: I said, they could report to us and our men would interfere. They said they were even prepared to keep sweeping teams but I said I'll sit with our sweeping agency (Monday 2pm). Most of all, they themselves pointed out that there are certain vacant spaces where all of them of one area could be accommodated. But, they said, in IT sector shops had to be close to gates of buildings as staff didn't have much time to spare for lunch.
I think it is a long journey, but it is important to travel together.
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Millennium Post dt 16 June 2017

Khabar 365 dt 16 June 2017

Khabar 365 dt 16 June 2017

Ei Samay dt 16 June 2017

The Statesman dt 16 June 2017

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Greening Plan

We held a meeting today with Forest Department, NKDA and Hidco to discuss the strategy to be adopted for greening New Town this monsoon.
After a longish discussion, we learnt the the Forest Department would revisit the 60,000 odd trees planted last year in New Town and do the necessary "in-filling", i.e, replant a few where the saplings did not survive. In addition, another 60,000 trees would be planted at Eco Urban Village, Eco Park and elsewhere. Avenue Plantation along new streets would be done. On 14th July, a small event would be held at Mela Ground where residents would be given free fruit saplings at 4pm in association with Forest Department. NKDA would take up several green spaces and plant saplings. In streets parallel to the Major Arterial Road on its both sides, tall trees would be planted in between street light poles in road medians where hedges had been planted. NGOs and Clubs who often volunteer to plant saplings would be encouraged to take care of maintenance too for a year. Sites to be offered to them were also broadly determined.
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Calcutta Times dt 15 June 2017

Times of India dt 15 June 2017

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Rainwater Harvesting using Solar Energy

Solar Water Pump
We are planning to make a project of rainwater harvesting from NKDA market rooftop using solar water pumps. We plan to close all but one rainwater outlets from the market's roof. The rainwater pipe from the only remaining outlet will bring water captured by the rooftop into a ground level plastic tank. This water will be pumped up, little by little, by a pump such as the above which uses electricity (DC) from solar panels (not shown above) . The pump can lift water till 70 ft. The rooftop tank will be filled in and this water can be used for gardening, washing, cleaning etc.
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Millennium Post dt 14 June 2017

Dainik Statesman dt 14 June 2017
Times of India dt 14 June 2017

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Corporate Cycling Competition

On 25th May, I'd met several corporates of Sector 5 and appealed to them to help us beautify Sector 5. I have also written to them suggesting that they could landscape, plant trees/ hedges/ creepers/ hang flowerpots, beautify or creatively paint  the portion in front of their boundary. I even talked to the Director of Bose Institute for their new campus in Sector 5.
To carry on the spirit of greenness, to create awareness on reducing automobile smoke, to encourage healthy habits for reducing traffic congestion, we are planning to have a corporate cycling competition in Sector 5 Nabadiganta for the first time.
We have heard about corporate car racing. But corporate cycling?
The brief rules are as follows:
There will be two categories: (a) Speed Cycling and (b) Slow Cycling
Each corporate can give a maximum of 3 participants for each category.
There is no entry fee. Cycles will be available for borrowing on request.
Corporates can have their brand logos displayed on the cycles. Participants will be given T-shirts and cap. Each participant will be given a participation certificate. Best winning teams (fastest or slowest in time) for each category would be given a medal and a prize.
Event date: 13 August 2017, Sunday.
Time: 6AM
Last date of entry 31 July 2017. Entry / query by email at

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Millennium Post dt 13 June 2017

Monday, June 12, 2017

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Golf Driving Practice

Golf Driving Course being readied in Eco Park

I visited the Golf Arena in Eco Park today. One can enter quickly by Gate 6. A driving range with 12 stands is being constructed. The distance will be more than 250 yards or so. Further extension is being done. We have partnered with a golfer who has agreed to help. We plan to start a demonstration with few local golf enthusiasts next Sunday 18th June at 6.30 am or so.

The idea of having a practising range for golf is this. In my younger days, I never had any chance of trying my hand at golf. Football, cricket, tennis etc are games where children have a chance to practice and learn the game, some of whom can excel in the game later. But the average middle class child or youth has few practice zones. Becoming members of Tolly Club, RCGC etc to try one's hand in golf is difficult and unaffordable for many. On the other hand, talent can reside everywhere and by giving an opportunity to try one's hand at golf, maybe we will discover the Shiv Chawrasias  of tomorrow.

To start with, we have so far decided on the following rules.

One can opt to get a morning walker's card of Eco Park from the Curator (Eco Park) at Eco Park Office. (Rs 200 registration fee and Rs 750 per month). Members of New Town Business Club and all morning-walking-card-holding-members of Eco Park will be allowed free entry and free parking. Resident guests of Cafe Ekante will also get free entry.
Golf balls will be available in buckets. (Rs.100 for a bucket of 50 balls). One can bring one's own golf club or hire at spot. Timings: 6am -9am and 4pm-6.30pm. Personal trainers would also be available on payment of fees.

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Saturday, June 10, 2017

Floodlit Cricket Ground

The NKDA cricket stadium at AA2 had the floodlights installed. I, CEO NKDA Debapriya Biswas, CE Pradeep Ray, SE Uttam Jana went to inspect. The first ever floodlit match was already on and I could see the lights illuminating the pitch and field quite well.
Sitting there, we discussed and decided that we will also install floodlights in the football field in Action Area 1.
There are eight panels on high poles, each with 48 LED lamps of 250W each.
The field has an illumination level of 250 lumens and the pitch has 300 lumens.
A football field, I was told, requires 75 lumens uniformly.
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Bartaman dt 10 June 2017

Aajkal dt 10 June 2017