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- Peelamedu residents demand subway under rail tracks TNN | Jun 16, 2018, 00:32 IST
Coimbatore: Residents of areas in and around the Peelamedu Railway Station protested at the station premises on Friday, demanding a subway running under the tracks, laying of service roads on either side of the foot over bridge and repair and relaying of their roads, which have been damaged due to movement of heavy vehicles.
Residents of Murugan Nagar and HUDCO Colony said that though the station does have a foot over bridge, they find it difficult to climb up and down carrying heavy bags and luggage. “There is a ration shop on one side. Residents, who buy goods from the shop, find it difficult to carry the items and climb up the stairs, especially old people. So, they end up crossing the tracks,” consumer activist PV Gopal said. “According to the original plan, they were supposed to construct a 7ft high and 16ft long subway. We want it immediately,” he said.
According to the protesters, the railway is also supposed to lay roads on both sides of the foot over bridge. “While they have acquired land and laid a 8ft wide road on one side, on the other side, the land for the project is yet to be acquired. They have not even surveyed the area for laying the road,” Gopal said.
The residents also demanded that interior roads in the area should be relaid by the corporation immediately. TNN
Ukkadam soon to get a new makeover TNN | Jun 16, 2018, 01:26 IST
Coimbatore: Ukkadam, which has been a driver's nightmare owing to the heavy traffic in the area, would soon become not only traffic free but also attractive, according to officials from the highways department and ‘Smart City’ project. The area, with its cramped shops and heavy vehicular traffic, would not only get decongested, but will also sport a serene look once the two projects are completed, officials said.
Officials of the highways department said their study showed that around 50% of the vehicular traffic on the highway was through traffic to and fro, while 40% of the traffic was from the Sungam bypass road and the rest was from Pruru bypass road. “So, in effect the flyover would eliminate half of the traffic,” said a highways official.
The 1.97km flyover would be a four-lane elevated highway for 1.48km and a wide two-lane elevated highway for 388m and a two-lane highway for 284m. “The road will be made a four-lane road with dedicated service lanes on either side, which would not only make it more convenient to travel, but also would enhance the look of the area,” the official added.
Shops from Naaz Theatre to the police station would be removed for the project. “Some shops on Nawab Hakim Road would be taken off. We would need space from 2m to 7m on the side near the toll plaza which would require us to taken off shops from there too,” said the official.
Officials said when complete, the area around the toll plaza, which now looks cramped, would get a changeover. “Now, as motorists approach the city from Palakkad Road, the first sight they would see is the congested shops around the toll plaza. After the flyover work is complete, the area would sport a new look,” said another official from the highways department.
While the lanes and service lanes would make travel through the area easy and its look spacious, beautification projects lined up as a part of Smart City plan would add to its look, said officials of the project. Mainly, the bunds of tanks in the region would be strengthened and maintained as cycling tracks, officials of the Smart City project said. “Greenery and landscape of the area would be enhanced, while water in the tank would be cleaned and maintained so that people could spend evenings there,” said an official. The area would also get recreation facilities for children and senior citizens, the official said.
In addition to this, last May, the city corporation had asked the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) to shift the Ukkadam bus stand and the bus depot nearby so that development work under Smart City project can be undertaken in Valangulam. “We have replied that we would shift if the local body gives us the required space and the necessary facilities,” said a TNSTC official.
Highways officials said while there were apprehensions among public that the flyover would end at Karumbukkadai, the flyover would in effect reach till Athupalam. “The private firm which handles the toll fare collection at Athupalam has got an extension from December 2018 to April 2019. After this period, we would take up the extension work as part of the phase-II,” said a highways official.
- Flood alert issued to people on Noyyal banks
TNN | Jun 16, 2018, 01:27 IST
Tirupur: The Tirupur district administration has issued flood warning to the people living on the banks of Noyyal River.
There has been a consistent flow of water into the river since the river’s catchment areas in Coimbatore district have received a good rainfall.
More than 250 houses are located along the river banks in many places including Jamunaipallam and Sangilipallam. “Since the water flow was consistent, we wanted to alert people, especially the ones in the low lying areas. It is common for people to not realise the raise in water level, especially if they return home during night,” a senior revenue department official said.
“Nevertheless, the people need not panic because it’s just a precautionary alert. We will keep an eye on the water level and take appropriate action, if needed,” he added
It is to be noted that seven persons were washed away when flash floods hit the houses located on Noyyal River banks in 2011.
- Trichy, Kovai to get technical and financial aid under NAMA project Deepak Karthik| TNN | Updated: Jun 17, 2018, 10:32 IST
TRICHY: Appreciating the measures taken by Trichycorporation on solid waste management (SWM), a joint initiative of several European bodies involved in climate change action and the ministry of housing and urban affairs (MoHUA) has selected the city for receiving technical and financial support under the Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) project. The urban local body (ULB) has submitted its proposals to establish a pyrolysis plant and biomining project here through the NAMA project which is aimed at streamlining waste management solutions in India.
NAMA, an umbrella of UK’s department of energy and climate change, Danish ministry of energy, German federal ministry for the environment and European Commission for Funding Climate Change Projects, shortlisted waste solutions in India for the climate change mitigation project. Apart from Trichy, Coimbatore, Bengaluru, Varanasi and Goa, were selected to receive the technical and financial support.
The project, whose financial support is capped at Rs138 crore, will last 6 years, including a year exclusively to analyse the preparation phase. With Trichy being selected, ULB submitted three proposals before NAMA to be considered for technical and financial support aimed at eliminating the need for landfills.
“A proposal to establish a pyrolysis plant and another for biomining were submitted to NAMA. They will study our proposals through field visits. A separate proposal to establish waste collection mechanism for bulk waste generators was also submitted,” corporation commissioner N Ravichandran said.
While the pyrolysis plant will chemically break down plastic waste into oil in a reactor, oil produced is set to be used as industrial oil for generating heat and electricity. Biomining is a step-bystep process to reclaim land used for dump yard. It follows a process of extracting waste from dump yard and segregating it for appropriate recycling. With ?138 crore the limit for support, the selected cities are expected to receive ?20crore -?30crore each based on the capacity of proposals.
“The group of bodies under NAMA will go through our proposals and it may take some time to finalise a proposal,” the commissioner added. Trichy corporation officials, after a meeting hosted by NAMA recently in New Delhi, said another plan to initiate a separate waste management system, including collection, segregation and disposal of waste for bulk waste generators (more than 50kg waste per day), was discussed.
- Banned plastic seized from Ooty restaurant TNN | Jun 19, 2018, 00:36 IST
Udhagamandalam: Officials from the Ooty municipality seized 24kg of banned plastic items from a private restaurant in the town on Monday. The officials slapped a fine of Rs 48, 000 on the restaurant. Based on a complaint from a local resident, the officials conducted an inspection at Adyar Anandha Bhavan on Commercial Road and seized 24kg of banned plastic items from there. The inspection team was led by Ooty municipal health officer Dr Murali Shankar. The seized items included tumblers, food containers, covers, silver foil covers, laminated sheets - all meant for packing food.
Ooty municipal engineer and commissioner in charge C Ravi said, “The hotel authorities have been warned. If the hotel is found again with banned plastic items, severe actions will be taken.” The hotel accommodates over 100 customers at a time when its capacity is only 40 as per the municipality. Ravi said, “The hotel management has been warned against this issue as well.” TNN
- Channel embankments to check flooding in residential areas Nivedha Selvam| TNN | Jun 19, 2018, 00:31 IST
Coimbatore: In order to prevent flooding from Vellalore Rajavaikal and Sethuma channels, the city corporation is planning to set up concrete embankments along the channels in the city limits. For the work, the civic body is planning to take over the maintenance of the channels from the public works department (PWD).
Embankments will be constructed on both sides of the channels based on the estimated water flow, a senior corporation official said. “Also, the bunds of the channels will be strengthened and a proper drainage system will be set up. For the work, we will submit a proposal to take over the channels at the earliest. After the channels are handed over, we would prepare a detailed project report for the work,” the official told TOI.
According to the sources in the civic body, the proposal for the project came after municipal administration minister SP Velumani inspected the lakes that were desilted by the civic body. The civic body is planning to implement it under its smart city project.
At present, the civic body, along with PWD, has stacked hundreds of sand bags along the banks of the channels that act as a temporary embankment to prevent water from flooding residential areas.
Explaining that several buildings had come up close to the channels, the official said that LIC Colony, Sarojini Nagar and SGA Garden were flooded when the sluice gate at Andipalayam Junction was opened recently.
The civic body would construct the embankments only in the city limit. “It is yet to be decided if the walls would be constructed for the entire stretch or at certain points. A total of 3.5kilometres of Sethuma channel and about 4.5 kilometres of Vellalore Rajavaikal channel pass through the city limits,” he added.
- Four village panchayats aim for zero waste dumping TNN | Jun 20, 2018, 01:13 IST
Coimbatore: Four village panchayats in Coimbatore district have taken the lead in rural solid waste management in a scientific manner, aiming for zero garbage dumping in their limits.
The four panchayats in Karamadai block have entered into an agreement with a private company for scientific disposal of waste. A Ravichandran, block development officer of Karamadai block, signed an MoU with ITC Limited on Tuesday to maintain zero garbage at the four panchayats.
Head of ITC Packaging and Specialty Paper unit, Coimbatore, Pranav Sharma signed the agreement on behalf of the company.
The programme will be implemented in Thekkampatti, Kemmarampalayam, Kalampalayam and Maradhur panchayats with the help of Imayam Social Welfare Organization offering expertise in solid waste management.
As per the MoU, ITC will create awareness among residents to segregate the garbage at household level. ITC will also conduct various awareness programmes and guide the panchayat staff to do scientific waste management.
Ravichandran said that the solid waste management programme will be rolled out in a phased manner. The programme has been taken up under public private community partnership on Rural Solid waste management (RSWM) under the aegis of “Mission Sunehrakal.” The programme will be in place for three years.
Panchayat officials said that few villages including Odanthurai which is also located in Karamadai have been implementing solid waste management programmes for years. But several villages are yet to wake up to the concept and the programme in these four village panchayats would be a wake-up call for others.
Representatives from Imayam said that awareness programmes on solid waste management have already started in the villages.
- Red tape delaying projects TNN | Jun 20, 2018, 01:25 IST
Though Coimbatore Smart City is an independent company, or a special purpose vehicle, formed to implement projects under the smart city mission, it lacks the infrastructure to function independently. With the company depending on the state government to sanction funds for every project, it lacks the freedom to sanction big projects and approve proposals. However, the smart city team says they now file project reports systematically and get fund reimbursements immediately, ensuring they face no delays.
Under the smart city guidelines, special purpose vehicles (SPVs) should function independent of the government to implement projects. But with the SPVs dependent on the state government for funds, the projects are facing hurdles. Getting approvals from political leaders also cause delays, said an official. The Tamil Nadu government had passed an order stating that corporation commissioners can sanction projects only below Rs 6 crore, but need sanction from the state high power committee for bigger projects.
An official said it took them a year to get approval for some projects. “Since we work in a government set-up, we have to prepare project reports, send it to various departments for clearance, ensure the public have no issues with it, issue tenders and then allot the work,” said the official. “It does take time, but this is the normal course,” said a senior official.
The smart city team says that projects are being executed at a reasonable speed.
However, public cooperation also seems to be an issue. The Ofo cycles system had to be stopped due to the public misusing and manhandling the cycles and even trying to steal them.
S Bhaskar from the IC Centre for Governance says that unlike Coimbatore, other cities like Pune and Nagpur made good use of the JNNURM scheme and got infrastructure like BRTS and a freight ring corridor. So, they are already ahead.
“Here, a clearly defined outcome of the smart city project is missing and projects seem to be extremely delayed,” he says.
- Smart City officials grope for an answer Pratiksha.Ramkumar@timesgroup.com | Jun 20, 2018, 01:22 IST
Coimbatore city has been ranked 14th among 87 smart cities across the country. While it topped the rankings among cities in Tamil Nadu, it fell way behind a number of tier II cities in the country. While the exact guidelines and criteria for the grading is unknown, people working on the smart city project say they expected a higher ranking.
While Tamil Nadu saw no representation in the top 10 of the smart city rankings, Coimbatore was the only city to make it to the top 15. All the other Tamil Nadu cities to be included in the smart city initiative, including Chennai, Salem, Vellore and Madurai, fell way behind. While Chennai, Salem and Vellore were ranked 37, 35 and 32, Madurai and Puducherry came much further down.
However, the city’s rankings have dropped since last year. In January 2018, Coimbatore ranked eighth among 20 smart cities. In June, the city was ranked 14th among 87 cities, with a score of 82.86. Among the tier II cities, Nagpur topped the rankings with a score of 259.96, Vadodara ranked second with a score of 195.31, Pune came fourth with a score of 190.59 and Vizag was 13th with a score of 88.28.
People working on the smart city project say they are yet to understand the ranking system and the reason why the city stood 14th. “We have completed six projects including setting up air quality monitors, bringing about eco-friendly bags, automatic water readers etc. At least eight more projects are in the pipeline and work has even begun on them,” says smart city project manager Subhash Chandra. “So, we do not know the criteria based on which they have graded us or given us the scores, for us to comment,” he said.
Chandra says he has not interacted with smart city executives from other cities either to know if their projects were getting completed faster. “We are following the system in place and we do not know how it happens in other cities. We want to focus on completing the projects as soon as possible.”
The smart city project is meant only for 14 wards in the city. Though the projects remained on track, the city corporation had come under severe flak last year for poor infrastructure. “Last year, the roads were terrible across the city, including some central parts. Drains remained open and there was waterlogging. The corporation also claimed there was a funds crunch. The fact that we had no ward councillors in power to sort out our difficulties also was a problem,” says Jaya Shreedharan, a Vadavalli resident. “How can a smart city exist without basic infrastructure,” she asks.
- Seize machines from illegal unit: TNPCB TNN | Jun 21, 2018, 01:04 IST
Tirupur: The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board has directed the district administration to seize machines from an illegal private charcoal unit near Palladam as it was running despite closure order. The charcoal manufacturing unit, which has been operating for the last few years, had failed to renew its licence. So, the TNPCB recommended the district monitoring committee, chaired by the collector, to disconnect power supply last year, said a senior TNPCB official from Tirupur south environmental division.
“As directed, Tangedco cut the electricity but we came to know that the unit has started operation without electricity. Its management managed to run the unit and produce charcoal. When we checked, we found that its emission was above permissible level too. So, we recommended to our head office in Chennai to seize its machines and stop the illegal operation,” he said.
Subsequently, the member-secretary of TNPCB has accepted the recommendation and issued an order to seize the machines. Since, the seizure could be done only by the revenue department, the order has been forwarded to the revenue officials, he added. tnn
- PWD stops bridge construction work TNN | Jun 21, 2018, 01:06 IST
Coimbatore: The public works department (PWD) on Wednesday stopped the construction of an approach road and bridge on ‘odai poromboke’ land in Kalapatti. The move comes days after the Madras high court issued stay order on the construction.
“Prima facie, construction of the approach road on the odai poromboke appears to be unsustainable,” the court said in its order while staying the construction work till July 20.
Though the order was issued on June 14, the PWD had been carrying out its work till Wednesday morning, said SP Thiyagarajan, an activist. Thiyagarajan took up the issue with the PWD authorities who stopped the construction work after he showed the court order. PWD officials said they were not aware of the court stay.
The construction work of approach road and bridge had been taking place round-the-clock. Residents in the region said that within a few weeks, the department had managed to find a contractor, through tender, and established about three pillars which were about 10-foot deep inside the ground. The estimated length of the road is 24.6 feet and breath over 100 feet.
The district collector, based on a request from a private land owner, had approved to construct the approach road and bridge connecting the main road and agricultural land near Eraa Mohan Nagar at Kalapatti, over the waterbody which is about 36 feet long and 130 feet wide.
The land, as per the revenue records, is ‘odai poromboke’ land (land earmarked near stream) and any sort of construction is not permitted over such land, as per the government order passed in the year 2003, the activist said.
In 2016, the high court has issued an order directing the collector to stop all sort of construction on waterways and demolition of existing structures on waterways, he added.
Citing it as a form of encroachment, the residents said that if at all the approach road and bridge is constructed, the water would flow into the farm land and nearby residential area.
Refusing the allegations, an official from PWD said that they had designed the construction of bridge in such a way that it would not affect the flow of water and construction of a bridge is not considered as encroachment as per the Tamil Nadu Protection of Tanks and Eviction of Encroachment Act, 2007. The court order however does not mention the approach bridge though it clearly states that laying of the approach road is stayed.
“We came to know about the court order only after the activist showed it and we stopped the work shortly after that,” the official said, adding that the department did not receive the order copy.
Meanwhile, the civic body has decided to fence about 40 cents of land meant for open space reservation (OSR) to avoid encroachment.
- Notification for land acquisition under way for western ring road TNN | Updated: Jun 22, 2018, 13:43 IST
COIMBATORE: The highways department is working on the assessment of land that needs to be acquired for the western ring road project in around seven of the 16 villages through which the road will pass. Officials from the department said they have already notified the land acquisition details for two villages – Theethipalayam and Perur Chettipalayam. A total of around 0.25 sqkm (2,51,640 sqm) would be acquired from the villages. Of this, 15,2150 sqm would be acquired from Theethipalayam and 99,490 from Perur Chettipalayam. A total of 1.42 sq km – more than 350 acres – will be acquired from 16 villages for the project.
The highways department would spend Rs 320 crore to acquire these lands, officials said. “We are preparing records for the other villages. We will complete paperwork for five other villages soon and would notify the land acquisition procedures. We expect the work to be complete by July,” an official said. Two special land acquisition teams have been formed for the work. Tahsildars of the particular blocks, through which the road will pass, will involve in the assessment work.
The officials are currently working in Madukkarai and will soon move to Perur. The work started in the first week of April.
The 32.43km-long ring road will connect Sugunapuram on Salem-Kochi Road to Narasimhanaickenpalayam on Mettupalayam Road. It will pass through Siruvani Road at Chellappa Goundan Pudur, Thondamuthur Road at Dhaliyur and Anaikatti Road at Kanuvai.
The officials plan to complete the project in phases. The first phase from Salem-Kochi Road to Siruvani Road (11.8km) will be completed first, followed by the 7.3km stretch from Siruvani Road to Maruthamalai Road and then the 13.3km stretch from Maruthamalai Road to Mettupalayam Road.
- Alarm over water supply privatization Nivedha Selvam| Nivedha.Selvam1@timesgroup.com | Jun 23, 2018, 01:04 IST
One of the most ambitious projects of Coimbatore Corporation, the 24x7 water supply scheme, has run into rough weather at the verge of implementation, exactly 10 years after it was envisaged.
While the scheme itself is not opposed, what has come as a cause for concern among the public is the privatization of the water supply scheme. The Rs 2,961 crore project aiming to supply water round the clock to 60 wards in the corporation has been entrusted with Suez Projects, a French company. For the company, this is the biggest water services project in India. Granting the project for water supply, considered an essential service of government, to a private body has led to apprehensions, specifically the pricing of water. Residents doubt that once privatized, the company would fix water tariffs at its will and treat water as a commodity rather than a basic amenity.
The CPI and CPM have announced protests against the privatization move. The DMK too, which had a meeting of the district functionaries on Friday, resolved to fight the privatization. The civic body went into damage control mode and issued a statement clarifying that Suez was roped in only for operations and maintenance of water supply and had no role in fixing tariff.
"Water tariff will be fixed by the corporation in consultation with the state government,’’ said corporation commissioner K Vijayakarthikeyan.
Even though the company will be entrusted with billing work, the collection of water charges will remain with the corporation. "The water usage will be measured for each household using automatic meters and charges will be collected through an app. The cash will be credited to the corporation’s bank account,’’ said Vijayakarthikeyan. The contract was given to Suez Projects Private Limited for 26 years – a one-year study period, four years of implementation period and 21 years of maintenance period. The official said the company started its study about a couple of months ago.
At present only a subsidised Rs 4.50 for 1,000 litres of water is being charged from consumers, while the civic body is paying Rs 9.75 for 1,000 litres to the TWAD, an official said, adding that the tariff might change if the government discontinues the subsidies.
But questions continue to be raised. "Even if the company doesn’t fix water tariff, chances are that they might levy service charges as they did in New Delhi," said S M Samy, former councillor (DMK). Former councillors also question the logic behind officials taking a drastic decision like privatisation of water supply when the council is not in place.
At the same time, there were voices supporting the project too. "There is no need for people to panic as no government would cede powers to a private company for fixing tariffs for an essential service like water,’’ said K Kathirmathiyon of Coimbatore Consumer Cause.
"But the privatization would improve the quality of water distribution service," he said.
Citing that they had completed day-to-day survey in two wards, the official said a techno-economic feasibility study is being conducted to understand the water requirement of the city.
- No more extensive digging of roads to identify water leakage TNN | Jun 23, 2018, 13:20 IST
Roads in the city limit will no longer have to be dug up for long stretches to identify a water leakage point. Thanks to the 24x7 water supply project, under which the civic body is planning to map households and the water network using Geographical Information System (GIS) and Global Positioning System (GPS) technology on real time basis.
At present there is no proper management of information pertaining to the water distribution. As all pipelines are laid under the ground, officials have to dig several metres of a road to know the exact location of a leakage, said sources from Suez Projects Private Limited, who was given the contract to implement the water supply project.
As of now, the civic body to implement the project in 60 wards of the corporation limits and it is to ensure round-the-clock water supply to households in the region, the sources said.
As we are planning to map every single household, pipes and valves and link it to the database, it would be easy to find the exact location in case of water leakage or any other problems, the sources said.
Whenever a complaint is received, all that the maintenance team will have to do is log in to the system and check for leakages.
Once the location is identified, the pipeline could be repaired in minutes.
This system involves the integration of all inputs, including the delivery data and consumer data, on a single platform along with day-to-day operations. This includes new service connections, leakage detection and repair, and water tanker supply management, the sources said.
"This technique enhances the overall delivery efficiency of the distribution system and increases customer satisfaction," they added.
Also, the civic body plans to set up customer relationship centres across the city to address the grievance of the residents. A 24x7 call centre would be set up and a toll-free number introduced.
- Highways department struggles to acquire land for flyover TNN | Updated: Jun 24, 2018, 05:17 IST
TIRUPUR: The state highways department has been struggling to convince a group of building owners to acquire small pieces of land to lay service roads, to be built as part of a flyover project on Kamarajar Salai in the city.
The 671m-long flyover takes off at Cotton Market Post Office and ends at Visweswaraswamy and Veeraraghava Perumal temple. It is aimed at reducing traffic congestion by allowing vehicles coming from Kumaran Road and Palladam Road. The Rs 45 crore project had started three years ago. As a part of the project, service roads are to be laid on both the sides.
Though they were willing to provide the required space, the building owners said they are not ready to allow land acquisition unless the government gives it in writing details including monetary compensation and exact space needed for the project. Owners of commercial establishments were anguished that further delay in the project will prolong the business slowdown caused by the construction.
“We were given a notice more than two years ago that said the required lands would be acquired. But even as the construction of the flyover has been almost completed, we did not get any further written communication. But the highways department insisted us to demolish certain parts of our buildings,” said M Rathinam, who owns a building near Visweswaraswamy and Veeraraghava Perumal temple.
“On what basis we should believe that we will be compensated properly or whether there will be further need for land acquisition. We have asked the department to settle compensation before the acquisition but it is yet to happen,” said K Senthil Kumar, a tenant.
A senior official of the highways department said, “We have ensured that the compensation has reached a land owner, whose land was yet to be acquired. For the buildings located near Visweswaraswamy and Veeraraghava Perumal temple, it is under process and it will take time for the government to issue an order to provide compensation.”
Tirupur south AIADMK MLA S Gunasekaran said that the GO will be issued soon.