Saturday, February 17, 2018

Cybercrime as a Course in colleges

I was in the Jhargram Administrative meeting yesterday where Hon'ble Chief Minister held meeting of all administrative matters and where all senior secretaries of the government and many ministers were present along with DM, SP and other officers of Jhargram district.

In course of the meeting Hon'ble CM asked Higher Education Department to introduce courses on Cyber-crime so that students would stand a good chance of  getting jobs in the police department and elsewhere. After the meeting, on the way out, I spoke to Secretary of Education Department and said that IT&E Department could help them frame the syllabus as we were already working on this and other fronts within the new Centre of Excellence on Cyber Security. This is based on the assessment by the CoE (Centre of Excellence) that skills at entry, middle and senior levels on cyber-security and digital forensics were in scarcity and commanded high remuneration. And that with increasing digitization of all aspects of our lives, the chance of cyber vulnerabilities would also increase manifold. Furthermore, not unlike physical warfare or actual crimes, the defence must be internal to the states' own set-up, almost a sovereign function which cannot be delegated easily. As such, the intervention to introduce education on a broad scale on cybercrime, cybersecurity, digital forensics etc is indeed a step very well directed and timely.

Thursday, February 15, 2018


I am in Delhi today (returning today) to attend the meeting of the Search-cum-selection committee constituted by MHRD (Ministry of Human Resources) for the post of Director of IIIT at Kalyani.

The IIIT Kalyani is like the other 15 IIITs constituted by an Act of the Parliament with shares and partnerships among MHRD, DoIT&E (State Govt) and Industry Partners. For Bengal, the Industry Partners are Coal India and Roltas.

Today's meeting was a marathon meeting where Directors of 7 IIITs are being recommended.

In the morning, I went to MeITY to invite MeITY officers for our forthcoming workshop on Cybersecurity on 16th March.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

OYOs and Totos in New Town: The Economy of Pooling

While compiling data for the freshly launched "New Town Info Book", I discovered that there are 19 OYO Rooms in New Town. I will hold a meeting with them on 28th February 2018 not only to see that they are complying with all rules (Trade Licence etc) but to also understand this sector and help them. Because, this is part of the great sharing economy: OLA, Uber, AirBnB, and now, New Town's own Dockless Bicycle sharing scheme by PEDL. In fact we want to encourage this sector and already the IT Deptt is handholding a start-up who won the State Hackathon recently, that will give an Apps to Totos and Autos for shared paratransit options.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Planning Cities the Future Way

We have already coined the phrase "New Town - the New Future" in many of the digital communications . An example:

In New Town there are dockless GPS controlled public bicycles, bike taxis, public hotpots, Wi Fi Enabled Biswa Bangla Sarani of 10 km length, LED street bulbs with auto-timers to switch on and off, SCADA enabled Water Treatment Plant, New Town's own Citizen Connect Social Network, Induction Loop controlled light saving mode in street lights where one third poles switch off after 10pm when no care move, mobile charging USB ports on each chair n the main huge auditorium of Biswa Bangla Convention Centre, an Optical Fibre Duct Newtwork throughout the city and plans to introduce blockchain based loyalty tokens to tourists. Now Hidco is also designing the Gitabitan Township in Bolpur: work is going on in full swing.
And now a recent decision has been taken entrusting Hidco to plan the 60 acre Sports City in Howrah, only few kilometres away from Nabanna. Work has started and survey is on. Regulations laid down under the Town and Country Planning Act, the UDFI norms, the IGBC Green City Norms,  the Township Policy of State Govt and all the experience of New Town Rajarhat will be infused into the planning of the new Sports City.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

New Town's Own Social Network: New Town City Connect

No one needs any training to do Facebook. It is intuitive and easy. So no one will need to learn about New Town's own social network. After registering, it is just as easy.

Then why not use Facebook itself?

Because fake news (and other objectionable or indecent remarks / comments/ posts) can be removed by NKDA. No need to go on long arguments and pleas. For example, a very old and fake photo is going viral in social media saying that a bridge in New Town near Axis Mall has developed cracks. I'd been to see he spot immediately when it came to my notice along with Arup Ghosh, General Manager (Engineering) three days ago. The building at the back was now completely different, there was no crack, only an expansion joint that is there on all such bridge. The very old picture is being circulated and one can do nothing but cry "fake news" as a "comment". But WhatsApp and Facebook "shares" keep on pouring in.

For connecting to New Town, there is already a SMS service. One can just send an sms with the word "Newtown" to 92300 6000 and one gets registered autmatically to get regular updates on the events in New Town. But this is a one-way communication: citizens' comments can't be sent by text messages to this number.

To supplement the connection with citizens by technology, therefore, Minister Firhad Hakim today launched the New Town City Connect, a Social Network site that enables Hidco and NKDA to touch people's lives, exchange comments and build a community feel by 'liking' each other's posts and responses. To begin with, it does not have graphic support but I think we will be able to evolve slowly so as to add further features.

I remember how I used to run a blog called "The CEO's Blog" when I was the Chief Electoral Officer. Hundreds of election officials would get a gist of the Commissions's latest instructions through the blog and pose queries that all other officers would see and learn together. I'd even seen some AEROs take prints of the Blog posts - informal as they were - and try to impose codes of conduct upon candidates' agents. So the New Town City Connect social network will also be a tool to spread awareness about the importance of being green and clean, of being sustainable and inclusive and of caring for the old and poor.

This is what we put out on the write-up today for the audience: New Town City connect is an online social media platform which offers a seamless inter and intra office digital communication including the non official stakeholders. It follows a 360 degrees approach. Digitally empowered it seeks to leverage the social media platform to assess the needs and aspirations of the various stakeholders of this city. This is in addition to the existing platforms like m-mobile app, website, mass SMS gateway, existing social media interface pages etc.

The link is . Here is a screen shot:

And here are two pics from today afternoon's pics:

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Old is Gold

Artist's Impression of Mishti Hub

Mishti Hub on my mobile today 4th Feb 2018

The Mishti Hub is located near Gate 3 of Eco Park. It is still under construction, but is fast nearing completion. There are 10+1 counters in the "Shop-in-Shop" concept. The ten  counters will be allotted on rent to famous sweet shops of Kolkata. The eleventh one will be reserved for the ethnic mishtis like Shaktigarer Lyangcha or Bardhamener Sitabhog or Krishnanagarer Sarbhaja or Berhampurer Chhanabora etc on a rotating basis.

But how does one select the famous sweet shops? A notice inviting Expression of Interest has been published recently. This can be seen at . The criteria, in short is "Old is Gold" that is, ten of the longest surviving sweet shops still operating in Kolkata will be shortlisted.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Review by Board of Nabadiganta Industrial Township Authority (NDITA)

The Board of NDITA met few days ago and took a review of completed and ongoing works in Sector 5 Salt Lake. The members expressed satisfaction at the progress made. This was a gist of what was presented to the Board:
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1. Link Road to New Town in continuation with the Ring Road - Work completed
2. Beautification of the Embankment of Water Bodies adjacent to Ring Road - Work
3. Inauguration of Beautified Nabadiganta Bus Terminus - Completed and Inaugurated
4. Inauguration of Beautified Food Kiosk - Completed and Inaugurated
5. Distribution of Bins to the food stalls - Work done
6. Resumption of construction of few floors of Administrative Building of NDITA
- Work is ongoing
6. Construction of one Compactor Station for Solid Waste disposal :completed (another one is under construction)
7. Pump House to Prevent Water Logging - nearing completion
8. Beautification of Metro Piers - Work completed
9. New Bus Shelter at Sukanta Nagar & beside E.D. Channel : under construction
10. Multi-Storied Car Parking' : Mackintosh Burn Ltd. has finalized the tender and issued work order to the selected Bidder.
11. Development of a Park from Nicco Park to Sukanta nagar Adjacent to Service Road: Ongoing
12. Strengthening of Road by Mastic Asphalt - some works have been completed, other
roads willbe taken up
13. Smart Railings: Design done
14. Installation of Drinking Water Stand at College more for public use : Completed
15. Removal of all Aerial Cable for better Nabadiganta - Street No. 13 has been made
Aerial Cable free, other roads are taken in phases
16. Use of Treated Sewage Water for Gardening - work initiated
17. Installation of Energy Efficient Lights - Almost completed
18. Street numbering in Sector 5 : Completed
19. Installation of the Public Arts & Road Signage in Nabadiganta area.
a. Pole mounted Signages installed.
b. Public Art installation with dynamic spectrum lighting completed
20. A corporate cycle competition with participation of corporates, residents and
employees under Sector-V in the campaign " Clean and Green Sector-V" was
organized on 13th August 20L7
21. Collection of Property Tax enhanced in comparison to the last few years
22. Construction of Town Hall of Nabadiganta -KMDA entrusted for the work.
23. Implementation (in phases) of the Traffic Mobility Plan prepared by IIT Kharagpur: ongoing

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Seminar on Cyber Security Planned on 16 March 2017

Second Meeting of Centre of Excellence on Cybersecurity was held on 30 Jan 2018 at New Town
The second meeting of the Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence took place yesterday where people from Academics, Industry, Police, Deptt of IT&E, Webel, Govt of India and others took place. We decided to hold a full day workshop on educational and training facilities available in Bengal and Eastern India. This would enable all to spread information on admission procedure, duration etc if students wanted to build careers on cybersecurity or on re-skilling IT professionals through trainings.  The workshop would be held on 16th March 2018 at the Biswa Bangla Convention Centre.

Some of the other decisions taken were:

1. A notice inviting Expression of Interest amongst empanelled agencies of CERT-In (Computer Emergency Response Team of India) would be floated for rate discovery on (a) remote VAPT (Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing) of government web-services and (b) end-point cyber health check-up of assets, systems and processes. Besides, M/s C-DAC , a Govt of India Undertaking, could also be engaged for the same activity

2. NIT Durgapur would consider the proposal for starting a course on Digital Forensics.

3. A workshop in the lines of an ‘exchange of knowledge’ mode would be arranged where stakeholders from the State, Centre, Academia, Law Enforcement and Private entities can participate and share their experiences, best practices, impediments faced along with their vision for the future.

4. Regarding Cyber Security Policy of West Bengal, it was decided the National Cyber Security Policy would be studied. The state policy would also chart out the statutory capacity required by the verticals of the CS-CoE to reach their respective goals.
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Today I saw an auto displaying an advertisement on the back hood near Karunamoyee bus stand. This is as follows. Looks like, Cybersecurity is getting traction even in the unorganised sector !

Monday, January 22, 2018

Street View, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality for New Town

To help one to decide whether or not to undertake a tour to Eco Park, Mother's Wax Museum as well as Biswa Bangla Convention Centre (especially for organisers), we are taking help of the digital platforms.  Feeds and information on Web-pages, Facebook / Twitter / YouTube feeds are regularly done by dedicated teams. Information on events is also sent via SMS to registered persons, registration being free and automatic.

Recently, we are trying to explore the Virtual Realty and Augmented Realty platforms too.

Thus, for example, in the Google Maps, a 3D walkthrough for Mother's Wax Museum can be seen at,88.4721804,3a,75y,169.65h,61.79t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sAF1QipOOPdsDwCthpIisNBrlRADx7LS8sJInfTvcaLWX!2e10!3e11!7i7700!8i3850?authuser=1 . You need to move the mouse and click at the virtual arrows to move forward and look around. This was uploaded three weeks ago and already 85,000 views have taken place.

A Virtual Realty Tour using drone photographs was uploaded during BGBS 2018 last week. This can be accessed at . Using the keyboard direction-arrows or by using the arrows on the screen, one can navigate around eco park and hit interest zones in the realty view to get transported to the next area of interest. If someone has Google Cardboard or a VR box and use the link on your smart mobile phone, you will see a stunning 3D virtual realty view, where you rotate and tilt your head to move around and enjoy the view around you.

An Augmented Reality Apps called "Convention Centre AR" is available at Google Play Store. It can be searched on the Googe Play Store and downloaded free on your Android Mobile. Once downloaded, the pictures in the BBCC AR Booklet (the BBCC AR Booklet is available at the Convention Centre Office) can be connected with the apps by pointing the mobile's camera to the photo while the Apps is running. The whole picture of the booklet comes to life, an AR Video is seen on the screen with people moving  around and in the midst of a simulated convention happening at the Centre. A great feature is the last page of the booklet that comes to life through the Apps to show how to reach the site of BBCC from E M By Pass / VIP Road from a flying drone point-of-view. The Convention Centre AR Apps and the booklet was launched during the BGBS 2018 on 16 Jan 2018

Sunday, January 21, 2018

One Crore Foot-falls in Eco Park

Yesterday 20th January 2018, Eco Park visitors surpassed the 1,00,00,000 mark. This is a cumulative figure, beginning five years ago.

Commemorating 5 years of Eco Park, we have published a booklet. This can be seen at  . It is available for purchase at Eco Park @Rs50.

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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Community Market Project near Shukhobrishti

Groundbreaking of Community Market Project yesterday (19th Jan 2018)
The road in front of Shukhobrishti Complex is full of unauthorised roadside shops. We conducted a survey on the type of shops and names. We discovered, interestingly, that while in other parts like those in front of Unitech where NKDA has already built a Community Market the number of food stalls was the most, here, in Action Area 3, the spread is wider with even hair cutting saloons and fruit / chicken stalls. Actually, the street economics of the large residential area - only lately being serviced by a new Spencer's mall - ensures demand for the whole spectrum of shops one normally sees in a block market of Salt Lake and elsewhere. So we planned the rehabilitation market as per demand, planned for a segregation of dry and wet markets that is, fish - chicken- mutton on one side, groceries and vegetables on another side and food-stalls and services (xerox, hair cutting) on the front. A two storied office building for the market committee to keep an eye as if from a watch tower. Well dispersed spaces for bins. Parking space. All in a rather thin strip of land. But planning is done in consultation with stakeholders, panchayat, engineers and architect.

The work started yesterday. Will take 18 months. NKDA is building it. This will be the third such project after the one near Unitech in AA2 and Old Thana in AA1 - both hugely successfully running with rehabilitated street vendors.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

EV Charging Design Competition

At NKDA: Designers' Meeting for EV Charging

New Town already has bike taxis, e-rickshaws, eco carts (golf carts) and EVs (Electric Vehicles). Hidco has an EV of Mahindra (e2O) that is used often. The idea is to encourage use of EVs as much as possible to minimise emissions and become green friendly. In fact, like our recent dockless GPS controlled public cycle sharing scheme, we are also thinking of having shared GPS controlled EVs.

However, users of EVs suffer from what The Economist refers to as the "charging anxiety", an anxiety that battery will drain out and then the EV will stop. To address this, it is necessary to have fast charging stations every few kilometres so that there is always a place for charging the battery of an EV.

So a design competition was invited by NKDA (see ) and the idea is that external design and internal technical design will be done by intending persons for being evaluated by an expert panel . The first would be given a prize of Rs 1 lakh. Today was the day of pre-design conference.

We clarified that (a) the design would be validated first with a prototype (b) 7 days' time extension as prayed for would be allowed (c) "fast charging" should be ideally 2 hours (d) normal / slow charging options for scooties/ totos etc as well as fast charging option should be there (e) prepaid meters would be used.

Friday, January 12, 2018

New Town, the M.I.C.E destination of South Asia... (Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing, Exhibitions)

New Town Kolkata is the Singapore of Kolkata. It is a Green City, It has the best infrastructure. It has IT, Financial and Educational Hubs. It has a fine work-life balance.It is becoming a leading MICE destination of South Asia.

There is the largest urban park in India, a 480 acre Eco Park where  one can experience Seven Wonders, Japanese Forest and Sculpture Garden. Rose Garden, Butterfly Garden and Heliconia Garden. Mask Garden, Tea Garden and Herbal Garden. Duo-cycling, boating and zorbing. Rabi Aranya, Musical Fountain and Mother's Wax Museum. Toy train, Cafe Ekante and Children's Park. Most of all, clean air, green vistas and blue water provides a fine relaxing experience Eco Park. No wonder, it witnessed the highest footfall (1.38 lakh) on 1st January 2018 in Kolkata.

 Work happens in the IT Hubs of TCS Gitanjali, DLF-I, DLF-II, Eco Space, Candor Techspace, Webel IT Park and more than 50 IT offices. 23 banks and financial institutions have taken up plots in the Financial Hub while the huge SBI Institute of Management has started functiong. A FinTech Hub is also being set up. Quality power, pure water from Hoogly River, dedicated Optical Fibre Duct Network, and Public Art consisting of original sculptures and the upcoming Biswa Bangla Gate add to the interest of New Town.

St Xaviers' University, IIT, Alia University, Presidency University, Amity University, UEM University, Techno India as well as other Colleges and institutions of higher learning is likely to make New Town a rich source of youth and talent to form a virtuous cycle with the IT and FinTech Hub.

Besides the Biswa Bangla Convention Centre with its upcoming 100 key collocated hotel(see picture above), there are star hotels (Novotel, Pride, Swissotel, Holiday Inn and Westin) as well as Ekante Cottages and more than 19 OYO homes. With more than 78 food courts including Cafe Ekante, and attractions like Mother's Wax Museum, Nazrul Tirtha, Rabindra Tirtha, Swapna Bhor Seniors' Park, Business Club, Golf Arena, and, of course, Eco Park, New Town is fast emerging as a MICE destination for the country and south Asia.

The Tata Medical Centre is a prime cancer hospital of Eastern India. Ohio Hospital, Bhagirathi Neotia Mother and Child Care, Shankar Netrlaya, Alo Eye Hospital and many upcoming units incluing Nursing Colleges make New Town an ideal Health Care destination as well.

New Town has an area of 7,000 acres, designed for a population of 1 million, is 5 minutes from the Airport, is being connected with metro rail, and is always innovating with experiments such as bike taxis, energy saving street lights, GPS enabled smart bicycle sharing, and Wi Fi enabled 10 km long Biswa Bangla Sarani.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Brainstorming Session for Innovation Centre

At IT&E Department today: Innovation Inputs
The State Govt has decided to set up a Centre of Innovation at Bantala. A building construction has already started and is expected to be commissioned within 2018.

In order however to decide how the centre should function, we held a brainstorming session with many thought leaders and experts from IIM, IIT, University of Kolkata, WBUT, Assocham, PwC, Sumantrana, Intueri, Praxis, Fujisoft, Start-Ups and others.

After intense discussions, it was roughly decided as follows (I requested all to give inputs separately by 31st January):
1. The goal of the Centre of Innovation would be to produce (a) patents / IPRs and (b) upscale knowledge in emerging areas like blockchain, fintech, IoT, robotics etc
2. The aim would be to network with industry and academic institutions by video workshops / interactions, webinars, web, linked-in, apps etc as well as actual workshops
3. The task would be to invite successful patent holders and mentors to handhold aspiring young innovators and help them with industry problems and mentors.
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