Saturday, March 31, 2018

11th Conventions India Conclave at BBCC in August 2018

The India Convention Centre Bureau (ICPB) (see ) recently visited the Biswa Bangla Convention Centre (BBCC) at New Town and were greatly impressed and proposed that the 11th Conventions and India Conclave be held here. ICPB was set up in 1988 to tap business in Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE). The ICPB is an apex body sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India for promotion of India as a convention destination. It is so planned that it will be participated by various states and various industry organisations from around the world.
In its Board Meeting held on 29th March, Hidco agreed to be a Platinum Sponsor to the event.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

100% Online Unit Area Property Tax from FY 2018-19

New Town's property tax system is based on unit area  system. This is the most scientific way of determining property tax. New Town is divided into 7 zones. each is assigned a basic valuation per unit area. Then multiplication factors are applied (self occupied or rented, location etc). Then the tax payable can be easily calculated.

The whole system is on-line. It is quite unique. No paperwork to be submitted. The data and self assessment can be fed through a net connected computer from home. There are dozens of Tax Sathis who are being trained to help the house owners at no cost to the owner. They are expected to carry intenet connected laptops. e-Help desks of NKDA also have net-connected computers. Details of  trained Tax Sathis will be available on the net. In addition, there will be e-help kiosks at NKDA offices at AA1 and AA2. There will also be a helpline during office hours.

We suggest that before calling the Tax Sathi, keep your sanctioned building plan, land deed and identity documents handy, keep your bank IFSC code account number PAN, Aadhar (if any) and other KYC documents handy.

The property tax scheme will be effective from FY 2018-19, with effect from Monday April 2, 2018, the planned date of notification to this effect.

Few other salient points on New Town Property Tax are as follows:

* * *

As per provision of Chapter-VIIA of the New Town Kolkata Development Act, 2007, Property Tax is  to be introduced in New Town Kolkata by the New Town Kolkata Development Authority by final publication of the scheme under section 36H of the said act,  on the  2nd April, 2018.
Salient features:
1. The property tax system is based on Unit Area system of assessment.
2. Entire process will be in electronic mode based on mobile phone-OTP verification access.
User friendly feature: **Document uploading is not mandatory.
3. Provision of self assessment of property tax by citizen on line, by logging in the –e-district portal of Government of West Bengal.
4. Provision of payment of property tax online as well as offline (by generation of challan and making payment with the challan at bank).
5. Provision of 5% rebate on timely payment of property tax of each quarter.
6. Provision of addition rebate of 5% on payment of property tax for the entire year within the due date of first quarter.

What property owners have to do after final publication of the scheme u/s 36 H ?

1. From 2nd April 2018, property owner will have sixty (60) days time to submit online self assessment of property tax and to make payment for the current quarter (1st Quarter). 
2. There will be trained personnel empanelled by NKDA, termed as “Tax Sathi” whose service may be availed by citizens for this purpose free of cost.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Nazrul Archive at Nazrul Tirtha to Collaborate with Society for Natural Language Technology Research

The Society for Natural Language Technology Research (SNLTR) is an autonomous organisation under the Department of Information Technology and Electronics, Govt of West Bengal. Located in SDF Building in Sector 5, it has been doing a great deal of research on Bangla language and literature, archiving, scripting and fonts as well as developing technology for assisting the visually challenged.

Last month, SNLTR received recognition as a Content Partner of the National Digital Library of India. All works of Rabindranath Tagore and Bankimchandra Chattopadhyaya which were digitally archived by SNLTR are now accessible through the National Digital Library Portal (See, for example, Nationa Digital Library Link ) . SNLTR is also doing good research on works of Kazi Nazrul Islam (see Nazrul Rachanabali ) .

On the other hand, the Nazrul Archive in Nazrul Tirtha is a pioneering initiative of HIDCO where physical and digital records of Nazrul's works are being preserved. it is a one-of-its kind initiative in the country. Researchers can work at the archive and those from out of station can put up at the four guest rooms at Nazrul Tirtha. The archive is to facilitate research on Nazrul in our country. The Nazrul Archive was inaugurated in December 2017 by Minister Firhad Hakim in presence of members of families of Nazrul Islam. The archive has books by and on Nazrul, facsimiles of magazines Dhumketu, Langol and Gonobani edited by him, letters to and from him as well as songs and notations. There are over 500 songs and 25,000 documents on hard discs at the archive (See Telegraph story, for example here ).

Now the Nazrul Archive officials and SNLTR officials will collaborate to create a synergy on research, technology and archiving of Nazrul's works.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Transport Technology in New Town

Three electric buses have been delivered recently in New Town. These are procured jointly by Hidco and Coal India. These are air-conditioned, 32 seaters and have special charging stations at AA3 Bus Terminus, Pride Hotel Building Bus Terminus in AA1 and near Eco Urban Village at AA2. A committee with Hidco, NKDA and a representative of PVD (Public Vehicles Directorate) have been formed to suggest routes and timings where these buses would run. Initially, no fares would be levied during the trial runs, and the objective is to give a connectivity in certain pockets where buses don't reach and residents are dependent on totos and autos. I think of the inter-terminal coach services between the airport terminals in Delhi and other places. The buses have got safety certificates from ARA  (Automobile Research Association of India) at Pune and are awiting registration with PVD in Kolkata. Of course, the range of travel (150km on one charge), charging time safe speed, driver-helper shifts and other factors will have to be considered by the committee.

New AC Electric Buses in New Town
Recently, representatives of Zoomcars discussed with us the possibility of introducing self-driven electric vehicles on a public hiring scheme. Quite like the GPS tagged Apps driven public shared bicycles that are already in operation in New Town, the idea is to have driver-less rent-an-electric-vehicle (like e2o ) using apps. Of course, one has to register beforehand and have driving licence that will have to be scanned and uploaded and approved before registration on-line is approved. Public charging points will help take the matter forward as the EVs will have to be kept charged.

Recently, representatives of Pratt & Whitney discussed with us the possibility of having electric three wheelers on a shareable basis roughly like an Ola/Uber. Locating a local site for charging stations of 150 such eTotos is an area they are looking to solve, they informed. I suggested time sharing in existing parking lots near Axis Mall / Home Town etc where the eTotos could be charged during 10pm-6am on payment of a fee.

New Town Dockless Bi-Cycle Sharing (watch video)

Meanwhile, PEDL, who is operating the public cycle sharing scheme in New Town is looking at expanding to Sector 5 Salt Lake while Bike Taxis which are operating in New Town and Salt Lake are looking at expanding to KMC area. Also, at NKDA we have taken a decision that all paid parking areas would be slowly integrated with Apps and digital sensors (ultrasound or magnetic induction) so that car users would know in advance the availability of parking spaces, NKDA would be able to cross verify the quantum of revenues collected and discount pricing through intelligent software at the back-end could free up spaces taken up on roads at least during off-peak hours.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Institute For Future Cities: "Light As a Service"

Ms Manjari Chakraborty (Br DHC), Dr Richard Bellingham, me, Robert Rogerson, Debapriya Biswas,
Debjit Ganguly: Yesterday (28 Feb 2018) at Hidco

Daniel Broby, joining in from Glasgow, Scotland over Skype
At last BGBS, we from NKDA had signed an MoU with the University of Strathclyde's Institute of Future Cities. Yesterday, we had a detailed meeting at Kolkata with Dr Bellingham, Director of the Institute of Future Citiesand Robert Rogerson Deputy Director for Institute of Future Cities. Daniel Broby and George Pasky joined in from Glasgow, Scotland, UK over Skype. It was snowing in Sctland and weather was harsh and the connectivity wasn't very good. but we managed. Dr Robert is doing work on Blockchain and time stamping of blocks while the second professor is doing work on geothermal energy.

We decided to collaborate on several areas such as renewable energy, fintech and data observatory.

In renewable energy, the concept of 'light as a service' was discussed where the lifetime costs for illuminating streets could be lowered using geothermal  and solar energy as supplements, efficient light accessories, controlling level of illumination by smart controls, waste to energy, multitasking street poles for data connectivity, pollution monitoring and innovation district.

In Fintech, fast broadband access, large capacity local servers and blockchain stratups using the Institute's atomic clock for time stamping the blocks could be looked at.

In Data Observatory, a Centre of Observation in Kolkata was discussed, using public cycles and buses to monitor air quality parameters among other things.

A scoping memorandum would be proposed by Dr Bellingham shortly based on which future collaboration would be founded.