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- ‘Complete manual scavenging survey within 10 days or face action’ TNN | May 29, 2018, 00:34 IST
Coimbatore: Stating that the district is being run like a separate state that refuses to implement either the state government orders or the Central government orders, member of the national commission for safai karamcharis Jagadish Hiremani on Monday warned of strict action if steps are not taken to complete the manual scavenging survey.
Chairing the vigilance review meeting for safai karamcharis at the district collectorate, the official also insisted on the implementation of the minimum wages act. “As per the government order issued by the Tamil Nadu government, each worker should be paid a minimum of Rs 625 per day. Though the government has passed the order, the district administration has failed to implement it,” he said.
The Central government had ordered all the state governments to complete manual scavenging survey by April 30, Hiremani said. “The deadline has passed. The city corporation claims that there are only 195 manual scavengers in the corporation limits and the town panchayats claim there are just 16. The village panchayats have not held the survey. Irrespective of that, the national safai karamchari development corporation has been providing necessary funds to the state government to advertise and hold camps, which has also not been done. If the survey is not completed within 10 days, we will take legal action against the district administration,” he said.
Once the survey is completed, the listed manual scavengers will get monetary benefits from the state and Central government. They will also be eligible for loans to start businesses. Other benefits such as education, housing and rehabilitation will also be provided. “It is the lack of awareness that makes genuine beneficiaries miss these subsidies. I have asked the officials to look beyond government offices and search in locations such as bus stands, hotels and private companies to identify manual scavengers,” Hiremani said.
The official also ordered the district administration to issue the state government compensation of Rs3 lakh for the children of the civic conservancy workers R Gowrishankar, 21, of Nambiazhaganpalayam, M Ezhumalai, 23, of Rathinapuri and P Suryakumar, 23, of Gounder Mills - who died of asphyxiation in a gold smithery in Coimbatore on December 22.
- Coimbatore: Sanitary workers refuse to shift to housing units The residents have been issued notices to vacate their homes and have been provided alternate homes at Kovai Pudur and Vellalore housing units constructed by the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance BoardTNN | May 30, 2018, 13:30 IST
COIMBATORE: In a setback to the construction of Ukkadam flyover, the resettlement of more than 300 sanitary workers residing at Athupalam and Ukkadam may be delayed further.
The sanitary workers submitted a petition to the national commission of safai karamcharis stating that they would not shift to Kovai Pudur and Vellalore housing units as they are more than 12km away from their current location.
The residents have been issued notices to vacate their homes and have been provided alternate homes at Kovai Pudur and Vellalore housing units constructed by the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board.
They said they need to report to work at 5.30am every day and it would be impossible to do so if they were 12km away.
The sanitary workers demanded that they should be allotted homes inside the city as they are working for the corporation.
The workers petitioned the member of the commission, Jagadish Hiremani, who headed a vigilance meeting for the safai karamcharis at the district collectorate on Monday.
He instructed the officials to look for an alternate land for the sanitary workers inside the city.
The district revenue officer informed the member that the biometric survey and the allotment had almost been completed.
“These are the readily available houses closest to the site. There is no other alternate location,” he said, adding that the construction of the flyover will begin soon, and it would be impossible for the government to find other location now.
One of the workers, Asif, said, “I report to the corporation officials at 5.30am every day and I stay near Athupalam. If I am shifted to Vellalore, how will I reach for work in time.”
Panneerselvam, a social worker, said most of the companies and government establishments have provided residences to their employees close to the offices.
“So, why should a sanitary worker be shifted out of the city to work inside the city. If the government intends, they can easily find alternate land in Race Course or near Murugan Theatre,” he said.
He added that the workers would not shift far away from the city.
- Damaged check dams drain rainwater into Kerala V.S. Palaniappan
COIMBATORE, MAY 30, 2018 00:00 IST
UPDATED: MAY 30, 2018 03:41 IST
A damaged check dam that went unattended across Manjipallam river. MDMK plans to launch campaign to mobilise the support of public and farmers
Amid long drawn legal battles with neighbours and strained inter-State relations for getting due share of water, here is a classic case of official apathy and negligence resulting in rainwater getting drained into Kerala and that too goes unaccounted.
Due to heavy rain in September last, three check dams across the river Manjipallam got damaged.
This resulted in the entire North East monsoon rainwater and the subsequent water received through the summer showers drained into Kerala.
V. Easwaran, State Youth Wing President of Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), says that a petition submitted to the officials concerned for reconstructing the check dams to conserve water for the sake of farmers has not yielded any results.
This is proving to be a cause for concern, especially at a time when the South East monsoon is all set to knock the doors of Tamil Nadu, Mr. Easwaran added.
River Manjipallam originates near Arivoli Nagar at Kovaipudur and it crosses the Palakkad Road and traverses via Kurumbapalayam, Madukkarai, Nachipalayam, Pachapalayam, Kumittipathy and enters Kerala via Vezhandavazham and gets drained into Bharathapuzha only to reach the Arabian Sea. Even when the check dams were intact, water conserved used to be less and farmers had been demanding for construction of additional check dams to conserve the rainwater so as to recharge the ground water acquifer. But, with even the existing three check dams having suffered damages, the entire rainwater gets drained into Kerala and flows into the Arabian sea.
This is a sharp contrast, especially when the neighbour Kerala was going ahead with construction of check dams across river Bhavani despite protests from Tamil Nadu.
MDMK plans to launch a campaign to mobilise the support of public and farmers and if the State failed to wake up from the slumber, the party will lay seige to the Collector’s office, Mr. Easwaran added.
- Mettupalayam Road being widened for three km. SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
COIMBATORE, MAY 30, 2018 00:00 IST
UPDATED: MAY 30, 2018 03:41 IST
The storm water drain under construction on Mettupalayam Road in the city.S. Siva SaravananS_SIVA SARAVANAN The Rs. 8-crore project is taken up to bring down accidents on the road
The State Highways Department is widening Mettupalayam Road for three km from VG Hospital to Vadamadurai. As part of the works, storm water drain is under construction on the road side.
“This is an Rs. 8-crore project taken up to bring down accidents on Mettupalayam Road. However, even at the construction stage, the storm water drain was damaged near Viswanathapuram. In one or two places, the storm water drain is on road and it will reduce the motorable space again. The Highways Department officials asked us to remove the trees planted on either side to give space for road widening. However, the electric poles have not been shifted at some locations,” said M. Devendran, secretary of Coimbatore District Road Protection Association.
Even in places where the trees were removed, the storm water drain is on the road, he claims. The Highways Department would have prepared a design for the project. The construction and widening of the road should be according to the design. The mud removed during the digging for the storm water drains should be removed. Otherwise, it is piled up on the roadsides and if there are rains it fills the drains again, he said.
An official of the highways department said the storm water drain is still under construction and the damaged portion will be rebuilt again. In many places the electricity poles or transformers were already on the edge of the road and cannot be shifted. In those places the drain had to be moved towards the road.
- Ukkadam faecal sludge treatment plant set to start functioning in July TNN | Updated: Jun 1, 2018, 00:18 IST
Coimbatore: Construction of the faecal sludge treatment plant (FSTP) at Ukkadam, which would treat sludge from over 55,000 households in two town panchayats that were not covered by the underground sewage system, is expected to be complete within a month.
The plant would start to treat household sludge from July, said Niladri Chakraborty, senior specialist with the Tamil Nadu Urban Sanitation Support Programme (TNUSSP), which is functioning with the state government in improving urban sanitation at Periyanaickenpalayam and Narsimhanaickenpalayam on a pilot basis.
“With a sewage treatment plant in Ukkadam, kilometres away from the rural areas that lack underground sewage system, safe disposal of faecal wastes from the septic tanks continue to pose a serious threat both to the environment and humans,” he said.
FSTP would reduce the travelling time and decentralize the treatment system based on the requirement of the particular region. Upon decentralizing, the expenditure would come down, Chakraborty said.
The plant, with the capacity to treat over 25kiloliters per day (KLD), has two chambers to carry out aerobic and anaerobic treatment on the faecal sludge. It was constructed at the cost of Rs 2crore. “As a knowledge park would be established around the plant on 1.3 acres, authorities said that the treated water would be used for landscaping within the premises or distribute the water for farming purpose as the quality of water would be good. The solid would either be used to make fertiliser or used as compost for the crops,” the official said.
With numerous industrial plants around, there have been instances of mixing industrial affluent with the sludge, and in order to avoid such instances, quality check of the sludge would be done twice – from sludge collecting trucks and after treatment, Chakraborty added.
- Community toilet yet to benefit residents Coimbatore: P Lakshmi was happy when officials decided to set up a community toilet at Kanjigoundenpalayam in Nachipalayam village panchayat. Subsequently, the facility with four toilet units was constructed in 2017. But, it is yet to be opened for the residents.
According to Guruammal, a 45-year-old resident, here are nearly 50 houses in the area and of them only a few come with toilet facility “It remains locked after the construction. The community toilet was never inaugurated,” she said.
When contacted, panchayat officials said they would open the toilet for the public soon.
Civic activist Chandrasekar, meanwhile, said many projects in the village panchayat were pending.
Panchayat officials, however, said several projects were in the pipeline and tenders for the same had been passed.
- Villagers prevent sand smuggling from Bhavani tnn | Jun 4, 2018, 00:19 IST
Erode: Residents of Kothamangalam village in Erode district intercepted four trucks carrying illegally mined sand from the Bhavani River on Sunday. Subsequently, they staged a protest demanding officials to prevent smuggling.
The smugglers were transporting sand under the guise of silt from Bhavanisagar dam. According to the villagers, farmers were allowed to take silt from the reservoir bed for free by the state government. Accordingly, scores of trucks were taking silt from the dam.
Meanwhile, villagers came to know that a few men were scooping sand from the point where the river drains into the dam. Following this, they gathered on a road, stopped the trucks and found that they were carrying sand. They discovered that the truck drivers did not have necessary permits to take neither sand nor silt.
The villagers withdrew the protest after revenue officials reached the spot and promised to take action against the smugglers. tnn
- Corporation likely to suspend bill collector
COIMBATORE: The Coimbatore Corporation is most likely to suspend the bill collector who was caught red-handed by the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) sleuths, while taking bribe.
“Since DVAC has filed cases against the bill collector, she will be suspended,” said an official from the corporation. A Mala, 50, was caught while taking bribe of Rs 50,000 from a resident of Ganapathy for approving a building plan and to fix tax.
“We are waiting for the reports from DVAC and based on the reports, action would be taken against her, the official added.
The sleuths have registered a case under sections 7 and 13 (1) (d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, after collecting chemical-coated currency notes from the victim, Sivakumar.
About a week ago, when the victim has approached the corporation office for a building plan approval, the bill collector and her colleague has sought money for approving. The victim has filed a complaint with the DVAC.
- 16 tonnes plastic cleared from beaches along coast by group, volunteers
Volunteers at one of the beaches in Chennai
CHENNAI: Volunteers from the Environmentalist Foundation of India (EFI) collected 16.83 tonnes of plastic waste during a garbage cleaning drive from beaches and lakes in four locations across Tamil Nadu on Sunday, to mark the upcoming World Environment Day (June 5).
According to EFI, as many as 2,000 community volunteers participated in the drive held in Chennai, Coimbatore, Rameswaram and Puducherry and picked up trash between 7 and 9am.
A statement from EFI said that the drive was held at the Foreshore Estate beach besides Thiruvanmiyur, Palavakkam and Injambakkam beaches as well as the Elliot's Beach near Ashtalakshmi temple in Besant Nagar in Chennai. Volunteers also cleared trash from the Mamallapuram beach, the statement said. Chennai lakes that the volunteers cleaned include Nanmangalam Eri, Mudichur Seekana Eri, Karasangal, Kazhipattur and Madambakkam lakes.
In Coimbatore, the drive covered Krishnampatty lake while in Puducherry, volunteers rid the Nallavadu beach of plastic waste. Trash was removed at the Rameswaram beach too. The cleanup was part of EFI's "For a starter volunteer for water" campaign.
Speaking to TOI, Arun Krishnamurthy, founder EFI said, "Collaborative conservation was on display during the cleanup and it is here to continue in the weeks ahead. We must understand that water bodies are not trash yards and come together as citizens to reclaim them," he said. Nandhini Arun, communication associate, EFI, told TOI that the volunteers collected 16.83 tonnes of plastic waste during the Sunday drive.
Volunteers, some of whom were participating for the first time in a cleanup, told TOI that they were amazed at the amount of trash they found on beaches.
"I never imagined that I would find so many discarded balloons on the beach. I ended up picking only balloons for almost an hour at the Besant Nagar beach," said Rama Narayanan, a volunteer.
- District to find place in gas grid TNN | Updated: Jun 5, 2018, 00:01 IST
Notwithstanding the protests in parts of Tamil Nadu over gas pipelines and oil drilling, the Union government aims to make urban transportation in Chennai and Coimbatore cleaner and greener, by putting up a gas grid, by 2020.
If the plans drawn by the government fructifies, public transportation vehicles in these two mega cities in the state besides 11 other districts would be fuelled by compressed natural gas (CNG) like in Delhi and Mumbai, instead of the dirtier diesel. Diesel sales will however continue uninterrupted.
The key however, is the support from the state government, which is so far been lackadaisical to pipeline projects.
“We have had interactions with senior government officials, more specifically with S Krishnan, (housing and urban development secretary) who has promised all support,” said Satpal Garg, member, Petroleum & Natural Gas Regulatory Board. The government has also written to the chief secretary seeking support for the City Gas pipeline project.
“Every big city in India is on the gas grid. It is time for TN to come on the gas map as it is both cheaper and greener,” he said.
Ennore is on the global energy map where a massive gas (LNG) terminal (taking in an investment of Rs 5,200 crore) is being put up by Indian Oil. “Gas will be available from September,” he said. “It is in the interest of the State that it supports the project.”
The Centre’s plan is to cling the proposed City Gas pipelines to one of the two trunk pipelines -- Kochi—Kuttanad—Mangaluru and Chennai Ennore to Tuticorin--that go through the state. While the Kochi line, by GAIL, which passes through Western Tamil Nadu was stuck due to farmer protest, the Ennore-Tuticorin line has not progressed beyond Ennore.
Bidding for the creation of gas grid is underway. Seven geo locations in 11 districts including—Chennai, Kanchipuram, Tiruvallur, Coimbatore, Salem, would be covered, it will benefit 72 lakh households and 2.8 crore people in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. Within the union territory of Puducherry, three districts, viz., Puducherry, Mahe and Karaikal is open for bidding.
The bids, which closes in July, will see contracts being awarded in October. “Ideally, in states like Telengana, the permission to the winning bidder is handed over in 30 days. The gas supplies should start in 2020,” Garg said.
Each geographical area will require an investment of Rs 300 crore to Rs 500 crore over an eight-year period.
- Kurichi lake to get a facelift Nivedha Selvam| TNN | Updated: Jun 5, 2018, 00:05 IST
Coimbatore: The municipal administration department has decided to renovate Kurichi lake in Coimbatore, minister SP Velumani announced in the Assembly on Monday.
The department will take steps to increase the storing capacity of the lake and also to increase underground water level, he said. Sewage treatment plants will be set up near the lake in order to treat sewage water flowing from several places into the lake, Velumani said, adding that the bunds of the lake will also be strengthened. “The lake would be upgraded to a green park of international standard. Footpaths for walkers, bicycle tracks, children’s park and playground will be set up around it,” he said.
Musical fountains will be set up in front of the lake. Gymnasiums for men and women will be set up along with green pastures.
Renovation of Kurichi lake is a part of the smart city project, an official from the city corporation said. “The project will be designed based on the fund allocation,” he told TOI.
“Currently, the lake is maintained by the public works department (PWD). It will soon be handed over to the city corporation,” the official added. Under the smart city project, to get fund for lake development, one of the criteria was that the civic body should own it. The corporation, a few months ago, had passed a resolution and had sought permission to transfer the ownership from PWD.
When Kurichi municipality was merged with the city corporation in 2011, the corporation had plans to set up a 2MLD sewage treatment plant to ensure that sewage water does not enter the lake.
- Efforts on for green, plastic-free Coimbatore
COIMBATORE: Activities aimed at reducing plastic usage/waste and increasing green cover dominated World Environment Day celebrations in the city on Tuesday.
Various institutes and volunteer groups came up with innovative ways to reduce plastic usage. They tried to upcycle plastic, planned to use it as construction material and gave free cloth bags to shops.
Among them, city-based NGO Siruthuli set up PET bottle collection centres at popular restaurants, hospitals and halls. “Instead of dumping used plastic bottles in landfills, we decided to experiment by upcycling plastic. So we are requesting people to give used bottles to us. The drive will go on till June 10,” said NGO’s spokesperson Shruthi Suresh.
Siruthuli also plans to try constructing a toilet using plastic bottles, which will be used instead of bricks for erecting walls. “We got the idea from a few eco-engineers and some videos. We will require around 2,200 to 2,500 bottles for this initiative and we plan to complete the toilet by month-end,” said Shruthi. “If successful, we plan to build a few more such toilets in the city,” she added.
Ramalinga Nagar residents, who were already in the news for their initiatives to keep their area clean and plastic free, planted saplings in a reserve site at Nachimuthulayout. “We had cleared the site off overgrowth using a JCB and then planted around 30 trees,” said M S Vijayaraghavan, secretary of the Ramalinga Nagar Residents Welfare Association. “We also decided to deweed a children park in the area later this week,” he added.
The residents also plan to donate cloth bags to shopkeepers in the area and reiterate the importance of not using plastic bags.
The Tree Trust along with a few companies has selected 297 schools in Coimbatore as well as Pollachi and planted between five to 50 saplings in each schools. The planting ceremony at Devanga Higher Secondary School in R S Puram was attended by district chief education officer P Ayyannan.
On the forest college campus, five teams of joggers called themselves ploggers (sic) and collected plastic debris strewn on their path. They formed each team with 20 people, who jogged through residential areas on the campus. A few members also planted saplings along Avenue Road and educated children visiting the Gass Forest Museum on the campus about the dangers of plastic to environment.
- Tirupur corpn struggles to find site for dump yard as waste piles up Tirupur: With the frequency of removing municipal solid waste (MSW) reduced from one day to three-four days and denizens protesting against it, the city corporation is struggling to find an alternative place to set up a dumping yard.
With a population of about 10 lakh, Tirupur corporation generates 520ton MSW per day. As per the solid waste management policy advocated by the Tamil Nadu pollution control board, local bodies should have a separate garbage dumping yard to segregate the waste, which should be recycled and reused.
But Tirupur corporation does not have a designated dumping yard and has been using stone quarries to dump all kinds of wastes collected from the wards. Whenever local residents raised complaints against such temporary yards, the corporation would stop utilising the particular quarry and switch over to another.
“Earlier, the corporation had started a few projects for producing manure from waste and also tried to create designated dumping yards. But all the projects, including the manure-out-waste project in Kovilvazhi, failed. Now, instead of using the waste for renewable energy projects, it is dumped in the open,” CPM district secretary S Muthukannan told TOI.
Until recently, a stone quarry pit in Nallur was utilised for the dumping. After it became full, another quarry pit in Velliyangadu was used. As the road accessibility was poor to the Velliyangadu quarry pit, the corporation was having problems in dumping the waste there. Though the corporation decided on a quarry pit in Kanjampalayam, residents in the area opposed the move fearing that it would lead to pollution.
Meanwhile, a senior corporation official said that the civic body will be using the Velliyangadu quarry for two to three months. “We are taking steps to find an alternative dumping yard and have identified a pit in Mudhalipalayam. Once we finalise it, waste collected in four zones would be divided into two and dumped in Velliyangadu and the new pit,” he told TOI.
“The corporation had recently signed an MoU with the Central Leather and Research Institute to produce biogas from green waste, which would constitute around 100ton out of 520ton. We will recycle the remaining waste using some other projects,” the official added.
“Apart from having a proper system to dispose or recycle waste, it is important to sensitise the people about reducing the solid wastes and also segregation,” said Muthukannan.
- Linking UGD pipelines to STPs to be completed in 8 months
COIMBATORE: The city corporation is likely to complete the linking of sewer lines of underground drainage (UGD) from buildings to the three sewage treatment plants (STPs) in eight months.
“We have laid pipelines in most of the areas and only the gap work for over 10km is pending,” said a senior official from the corporation.
Most of the gap works that are to be carried out are in Trichy Road, between Singanallur and Ondipudur region, the official said, adding that they are currently doing the UGD work in Singanallur region.
As the Trichy Road is one of the most congested roads in the city and the road after Singanallur region becomes narrow, the official said that the civic body would take at least six to eight months to complete the project.
While the sewer lines were laid at an average depth of one meter in the centre of the city, the depth would be increased as the lines were laid towards the border limits, the official said.
As the lines would be laid at the depth of three meters from Singanallur and hard stratum (hard rock) was found at that depth in the region, the official said that they will have to do control blasting to lay pipelines and they are planning to do during the night hours.
“We have to be very careful while doing control blasting as it is a residential area and even a small mistake would create a big impact,” the official added.
The project that was announced under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) has commenced during 2009 and around nine years later, the civic body has laid sewer pipelines for 572km across the city.
The project was being executed in three phases and the sewer lines from the buildings in the city would be connected to three sewage treatment plants (STPs) – 70MLD unit at Ukkadam, 40MLD unit at Nanjundapuram and 60MLD unit at Ondipudur.
- Collector, former SP awarded Nilgiri Conservation Award TNN | Updated: Jun 6, 2018, 00:28 IST
Udhagamandalam: On World Environmental Day, collector J Innocent Divya and former superintendent of police, the Niligiris district, Murali Rambha were awarded Nilgiri Conservation Award for 2017 for their dedicated efforts to mobilize the participation of people to protect the ecology, culture and heritage of the district.
“Their combined endeavour and team work in successful organization of the Summer Festival- 2018 in an innovative, participative and orderly manner have earned the affection and appreciation of residents of the hill station as well as visitors,” said Dharmalingam Venugopal, director of Nilgiri Documentation Centre (NDC), which along with Citizen Groups of Nilgiris presented the award in a function held at Hotel Sullivan Court on Tuesday.
Receiving the award from Dr Vanaja Krishnan, a well-known paediatrician from the hill station, Divya said, “While I set my foot on the hills, I fell in love with it. Enforcement of laws in connection with environment is not easy, if people do not cooperate. So people’s support is the main reason for the successful implementation of banning of plastics, use of earth-movers and digging of wells.”
The award carried a plaque, citation and portrait of the awardee by pencil sketch artist Gokul Gowder.
Murali Rambha, who was transferred a week ago, will be given the award on later date.