Friday, June 30, 2017

Pet Cemetery, President, Future of Cities and Flag

Pet Cemetery at AA3
We 'broke coconuts' today to mark the beginning of the Pet Cemetery cum Pet Creche. Boundary wall and sentry gate box is already complete. Now the office building, reception, cages and burial grounds will be built. The project is expected to be commissioned within the year.

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I was at the Airport today to see off His Excellency the President of India Pranab Mukherjee after his last visit to capital. A picture taken by me soon after I shook hands with him and wished him good luck.

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At Taj Gateway Seminar today
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Today, the new IAS car flag was used in my car for the first time. A picture just before starting from home:

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(Top and bottom): Salt Lake Telegraph dt 30 June 2017

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

New Mechanical Sweeper for AA2

Today morning, another mechanical sweeper was pressed into service for AA2. The machine can sweep, suck, spray water and clean the road. A schedule has been made for all days of the week for the machine to move. A GPS will monitor the daily movement. The tank has a capacity of 6,000 litres. With this, there would be three mechanical sweepers that work every day to kepp the streets clean. Another is on its way.
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Millennium Post dt 28 June 2017

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Model Houses at Gitabitan

At Gitabitan Township in Shantiniketan, we will built three model houses complete with all interior furniture and fixture, on each of size 6 kottah, 4 kottah and 2.5 kottah. These will be for demonstration. Persons applying for plots will be given free plans, ready for sanction by allottee on signature only. Option will be given for turn-key construction by SSDA on payment of necessary costs. We hope to launch it in July 2017
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Asian Age dt 26 June 2017

ToI dt 27 June 2017

Monday, June 26, 2017


I have always held that grey concrete pillars are an eyesore and causes visual pollution in the urbanscape. In my first meeting with Metro - 5 years ago - I had wondered in the official meeting as to whether the lines could be taken underground. But it was too late, work had started on elevated rail corridor, and at least four times as expensive, on a per km cost basis. So the pillars remain.

We are toying with many options.
1. Use of creepers: We planted few near NKDA office. But growth did not occur due to lack of sunshine.
2. Use vertical gardens, with a steel frame: Working out costs. Expensive.
3. Use pillar art: (a) We will soon put Sahaj Path's Nandala Basu's designs on six pillars near Rabi Aranya of Eco Park. (b) I have asked artist Roopchand Kundu to 'adopt' a few pillars for painting. (c)  I've asked NGO "Halo Heritage" to organise art workshop for painting few pillars and (d) (see pic above) we are from Hidco's internal talents, putting up silhouette designs near Mother's Wax Museum.
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Anandabazar dt 26 June 2017

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Dye Test of Pipe Network

Dye Test of Sewerage Network in AA1

The underground pipe networks in New Town are being tested using a novel method. Red dye is used - much like dye test for heart blockages - to see if there are any blockages.

The recent testing was conducted by Executive Engineer Abin De and his team following some reports that due to dumping of waste construction materials, some pipe networks had choked and effluents were not flowing properly. The test consisted of puring red dye in one end and then observing its spread through the network at subsequent downstream manhole pits. The time taken to cover the distances between manhole and the intensity of the dye colour are taken into account to see if there are blockages in the fluid flow or leakages into the network.

It took several hours for the checking of one trunk sewer line in AA1C which is 800m long. The result was satisfactory and no intervention was considered necessary. Tests on other areas will be conducted in the days to come.

Sewer lines, as distinct from water supply lines, do not carry water under pressure. With a pressurised system, pipes remain clean on its own. Any blockages would give a reverse pressure on the pumping machinery and so detection of faults is easier. Rain water drainage network is close to the surface and can be visually checked and cleaned by removing slabs over the box drains of New Town. Sewer lines, on the other hand, are gravity driven and so have to be continuously sloped. This means that soon after its origin, the ceramic pipes go quite deep down the earth and often there are Sewerage Pumping Stations in intermediate locations. The outfall terminates finally in a Sewage Treatment Plant and in the STP of AA2, we are using the treated waste water to irrigate avenue plantations.
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Millennium Post dt 25 June 2017

Times of India dt 25 June 2017

Times of India dt 25 June 2017


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Central Opens in New Town

At Central with CEO NKDA and Regional Head (right)
The Central Mall opened its first branch at Kolkata today at New Town. I was invited to go at 4.30pm. I visited the mall and was introduced to Mr Kishore Biyani.

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Khabar 365 dt 24 June 2017

Millennium Post dt 2017

Kolkata on Wheels: Present issue

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