Monday, July 24, 2017

Gitabitan Plots to be launched tomorrow.

Here is a leaflet that will be launched tomorrow:

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Telegraph dt 23 April 2017

Millennium Post dt 23 July 2017

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Combating the rains

Concreting deck slab with rain shelter for overbridge, yesterday

Bagjola Pumps at Jatragachi operating in full speed

We have mobilised all our engineering team members from Hidco, NKDA and PHED to  keep round the clock vigil in the rainy season. NKDA is putting teams to clear off plastics etc from drainage outlets. PHED is keeping an eye on the drainage pumping stations that are being operated on full steam. HIDCO is keeping in touch with Irrigation Department for keeping the level of Bagjola Canal under danger level. HIDCO engineers have also set up a temporary shed over the road overbridge at Jatragachi to enable concrete deck slab casting to be done without the rains hampering the works. Simultaneosly, we are monitoring the level of water in Eco Park lake so that it does not spill over to the gardens (yesterday's level was 1.2m while the maximum allowed is 1.9m). By operating the Jatragachhi pumps (see pic above), the level of the outlet canal of Eco Park is kept low so that the Lake water can be drained away when the level begins to rise. We have also identified few potholes that have occurred on the roads and engineers are waiting for a short dry spell when patchworks can be completed.
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Millennium Post dt 23 July 2017

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Toto, Telecom and Gitabitan

Toto-based branding in New Town
Totos are economical and green (no CO2 emissions). So these are being used by NKDA / HIDCO to raise awareness for dengue prevention. In addition, regularly teams are visiting houses to make residents aware that water should not be allowed to accumulate on outdoors, to clean their internal drains and tanks and use mosquito nets. Fumigation teams use fogging machines while spray teams pump larva-killing liquids on canal banks and lake banks. A special leaflet composed by the consultant of NKDA is being distributed.
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Meeting after site visit at IT Park Bolpur yesterday
In order to exhibit the existing infrastructure at the IT Park Bolpur, I held a special joint inspection-cum-discussion with telecom operators (Reliance Jio, Vodafone, Airtel) at the IT Park at Bolpur. I explained that plug-and-play modules at most affordable rates were ready for allotment for contact centres, back office operations and assembly of hardware. They said they would take the issue with their management and revert.

Director NIELT was also there and was happy to see the infrastructure at the IT Park. He agreed to discuss with me next week in Kolkata.

I also held meeting with Webel, SDO and District Administration pointing out that one has to reach out to the Financial Sector (Mutual Fund, Stock, Bond dealers), On-line Handicraft market, On-line immersive tourism, as well as colleges to see how the IT Park can help them in start-ups.
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I reviewed the progress of Gitabitan Project and took action for the forthcoming launch of first phase of 54 plots on 25th July.
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Khabar 365 dt 22 July 2017
Salt Lake Telegraph dt 21 July 2017

Salt Lake Telegraph dt 21 July 2017

Times of India dt 21 July 2017
Abz dt 22 July 2017

Thursday, July 20, 2017

IT Parks in Durgapur and Asansol

Today whole day I spent at Asansol and Durgapur IT Parks. There are two phases in Durgapur IT Park, one that has just come up recently in the same compound is called Durgapur IT Park Phase II. The Asansol IT Park also came up recently, in 2016.

Both parks are well maintained, clean, with exterior landscaping and paved paths. Spaces are given on rent in three categories: Plug-n-Play AC, bare room AC and non-AC. spaces Rates for each category are adjusted to locations and quite reasonable : for Asansol, for instance, it is Rs 17 per sq ft per month (Plug-n-Play AC). Services like security, housekeeping are provided by Webel out of service portion of rent. The Plug-n-Play AC category is more in demand as it is difficult for entrepreneurs to move in furniture etc and take out while leaving. There are often quick turnarounds, I found. The cost factor is important: the max number of seats in one room appears to be a critical component and rather than the work stations with three side half partitions, a classroom arrangement is also being tried out by some.

Why do people come to work there? Why not work from one's house with a laptop and a data card, I asked someone. Because Financing from banks require trade licence and other papers. Because one needs to have an office to interact with customers and clients. Because group work is not possible at home. Because conferences and meetings are needed Mostly because of a sense of safety and security and scaling up requirements; after all, Bill Gates and Larry Page also had to move out of their garages, someone quipped to me.

I was curious to know what happens in these modules. At the Durgapur IT Park, one group is doing a niche work, dealing with end-to-end solutions for server storage for US clients. Another is developing Android and iOS Apps as well as search engine optimization on Google platform. One group is working on Financial Services. A large group is dealing with customer voice help services for whole of Eastern India. At Asansol, one group is doing software development, one is doing a fantastic job using maths based algorithms like Fibonacci series to do predictive analytics. Was the media-reported global IT downturn a concern for you, I asked someone. If the output is a complete product - as distinct from doing a bit of process as BPO in a long assembly line - there is no issue, he said.

I spoke to DM Paschim Burdwan, MD WBTC, CEO ADDA for some help that the IT employees wanted. But the sense that I got was that these Tier II cities need encouragement and recognition more than anything else, a hand holding and confidence building would go a long way, because though there is talent,  often there is a sense of isolation, a lack of networking opportunities. The IT Parks strives to break these walls (though there is intense secrecy among the units) but perhaps a critical mass needs to be formed around the IT Park in the town. Reaching out to individual entrepreneurs and young graduates in a systematic manner is a challenge that has to be met.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Exhibition of Jamini Ror Original Paintings in Nazrul Tirtha

Chairman Charukala Parishad Jogen Chowdhury gifting a set of
 Jamini Roy prints

Last Monday, I went to the HQ of West Bengal Charukala Kendra to finally discuss the terms of loaning the original pics.
We decided with the advice of Jogen Chowdhury, MP and Chairman of Charukala Parishad to show a display of several exquisite original Jamini Roys at Nazrul Tirtha ground floor from 8th August (Pochishe Boisakh) till 31st July 2017
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Khabar 365 dt 19 July 2017

Millennium Post dt 19 July 2017

Monday, July 17, 2017

Camac Street

At 4 Camac Street this afternoon
 I took charge as Additional Chief Secretary, Department of IT and Electronics, Govt of West Bengal this afternoon at the Camac Street office. I remembered my entry from Writers' in 2005 when I was the Chief Electoral Officer. I met many of the old security staff there. Dr Krishna Gupta and I talked for some time and then he handed over charge to me. I took a round of the department (in 7th and 2nd Floor) and then met the senior officers briefly at the 7th floor conference room. I declared that (i) I want to shift to the new premises at Sector 5 Mani Bhandar by end of this month (ii) website of IT&E must be updated soon (iii) I wanted a web based solution for on-line booking of IT Park spaces
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Khabar 365 dt 17 July 2017

Khabar 365 dt 17 July 2017

Bartaman dt 17 July 2017

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Fastest or Slowest, Win a Prize !

Sunday before Independence Day. 13 August 2017. 6 am. Corporate Cycling Competition will be held. Both fast cycling and slow cycling events will be there. Last date of applying: 31st July 2017.

Anindya Das, our creative associate, has send me this promotional graphic:

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Khabar 365 dt 16 July 2017

Millennium Post dt 16 July 2017

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Banmahotsav, Elevated Corridor and French National Day

Free saplings were distributed to New Town residents yesterday from New Town Mela Ground. There was a colourful chhou dance narrating the importance of protecting trees. The chhou dance was repeated at Eco Urban Village where we planted saplings.
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At the meeting of the EKWMA regarding elevated corridor from Kolkata Gate to EMByPass , I made a presentation and the proposal was approved.
Waiting for the approved minutes.
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At Novotel, the French National Day was observed yesterday.
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Salt Lake Telegraph dt 14 July 2017

Millennium Post dt 14 July 2017

Dainik Statesman dt 15 July 2017

Aajkal dt 15 July 2017

Khabar 365 dt 15 July 2017

Millennium Post dt 15 July 2017

Anandabazar dt 13 July 2017
Bartaman dt 15 July 2017

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Standing Committee of Assembly, NDITA Board and IIT Presentation on Sector 5 Transportation

WBLA Standing Committee to Hidco
The Standing Committee of West Bengal Legislative Assembly on Urban Development and Municipal Affairs met us at Hidco Bhavan today. A 10 minute video on New Town was shown, followed by a powerpoint presentation by me. This was followed by a Q&A session where after they left for field visits to MWM, Eco Park etc.

Few observations / suggestions by members during discussion included: Why are there several flats / houses / plots that vacant? What is being done about it? Are enough buses there? Can the adjoining Reckjuani 10 bedded hospital be tagged to New Town? Can tourism department be requested to spread the good things happening here? What is being done for housing in the affordable sector? How big is the planning zone of New Town and how controls are being exercised in this zone by NKDA? What is the financial model? We replied in details and the Committee appeared satisfied. Few data required would be sent subsequently.
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At the NDITA Board Meeting, we gave a presentation showing what we'd been able to achieve since the last Board meeting. These included: Gate of 215A Bus Terminus construction started; Footpath near Technopolis from JK Saha Bridge completed; Use of recycled water from STP for watering road side / median plantation; street numbering signages with pedestrian guides; illuminated tall signages at major roads; issue of work order to KMDA and Makintosh Burn Ltd for Multi-storied Car Building, Administrative Building of NDITA and Town Hall; issue of work order to make DPR for Jadavpur University for Bantala to Sector 5; huge increase in property tax collection in first quarter compared to last quarter; proceeding towards completion of link road, being extention of ring road towards Bantala till New Town crossing; introduction of Bike Taxi services; preparations for first ever Corporate Cycling Competition on 13 August 2017; real-time updation on web of property tax payments in coordination with HDFC; smart colourful abstract sculpture near Vivekananda Statue site on Salt Lake By Pass Road; introduction of Sewer Cleaning Machine in Sector 5; beginning of removal of overhead unauthorised hanging cables; start of Wi Fi on internal roads in addition to Salt Lake by pass road; completion of DPR on cycle track on Salt Lake by pass road etc.

The Board appreciated the progress made, requested Chief Engineer KMDA to expedite the assigned works, expressed concern over growing roadside encroachments and took the following decisions: till completion of the new administrative building, office space would be rented from Fisheries Department so that NDITA office could move out from Bidhannagar (Unnayan Bhavan) to Sector 5; approved DPR for cycle tracks as prepared by IIT and gave inputs to the presentation on transportation by IIT that followed>
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Dr D Pandit of IIT and team giving a ppt presentation on transportation
in NDITA area

IIT Kharagpur team led by Dr Debapratim Pandit and several students of IIT gave a long two hour presentation on the survey, methodology, findings, analysis, modelling, simulation to arrive at short, medium and long-term plans for making Sector 5 virtually signal free and free flowing traffic. Stakeholders in the meeting included Mayor BMC, Board Members, Traffic Police, Street Vendors, Bus Operators, Contract Carriages, Water Supply agency, engineers and many more. All were requested to give their additional feedback within a week where-after the team would go on to finalise their recommendations.
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Khabar 365 dt 13 July
Khabar 365 dt 13 July 2017

Millennium Post dt 13 July 2017

Bartaman dt 13 July 2017

Anandabazar dt 13 July 2017

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Gitabitan Project to be Launched on 25 July

The brochure sale for Gitabitan Town at Santiniketan, Bolpur, will start from Tuesday 25th July, it was decided today in consultation with Hon'ble Minister Firhad Hakim. There will be 54 plots in the first lot and each allottee will get a sanctioned plan without any extra payment. Plot sizes are 2.5 kottah, 4 kottah and 6 kottahs. Union Bank would be the banker.
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Dainik Statesman dt 11 July 2017

Times of India dt 11 July 2017

Monday, July 10, 2017

Education Hub Meeting: IT & Electronics

There was a meeting today with 14 Educational Institutions that had been given land in New Town in the past. I informed all concerned that St Xavier's University, Alia University, Amity University, Techno India, Maulana Azad College, New Town School etc had all got land, constructed their premises and started academic sessions. Even the IIT and Presidency University Campus was fast nearing completion (phase 1). I requested all to try to start some academic sessions by 2018. Most agreed.
These are the institutions who attended:
1. Vivek Tirtha (Ramakrishna Mission)
2. Bhawanipur Educational Society
3. Netaji Subhas Open University
4. Army Welfare Educational Society
5. Chhaya Prakashani
6. Sree Swetambar Stanakvasi Jain Sabha
7. Institute of Company Secretaries
9. Al-Ameen Mission Trust
10. Ganguly Education and Welfare Society
11. Belle Vue Clinic
12. Rabindra Bharati University
13. IILM Foundation
14. Institute of Chartered Accountants
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I got the State Govt orders asking me to take over additional charge of IT & Electronics Department. Dr Krishna Gupta, presently on leave, will hand over charge to me on 14th July.

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Khabar 365 dt 10 July 2017