EVEN before the IT SEZ planned by the Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu (Elcot) could take shape, there seems to be a big rush for IT space among various corporates and developers in the city.

While city-based corporates like the Bannari Amman Group, Salzer group and KG group have come out with their plans on the IT front, many new commercial developers have also joined the bandwagon by getting formal SEZ approvals for their proposed projects. Coimbatore Hi-Tech Infrastructure is planning to develop an IT SEZ over 60.73 acres at Keeranatham village and Span Ventures has got formal approval for 10.5 acres IT/ITeS SEZ at Eachanari.

The state-owned Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (Tidco), is also planning an IT park in the city suburbs. Rakindo Developers, a 50-50 joint venture between Vishwatej Projects and Rakeen, UAE, along with Tidco has proposed to develop feeder township, residential and leisure facilities over 625 acres in the villages of Sundakamuthur, Perur Chettipalayam and Thithipalayam.

The group also plans to promote an IT park on 25 acres at Perur village at Chettipalayam in south Coimbatore district. Bannari Group plans to develop an IT SEZ over 78 acres at Kalapatty village in Coimbatore and has got formal approval for around 60 acres. The entire process is likely to be completed in the next few months. Salzer plans to develop 1 lakh sq.ft. IT park in association with a US-based consulting service provider while KG group has acquired around 160 acres near its existing campus at Saravanampatty for developing it as an ITES SEZ. I

According to sources in the property development business, by the end of 2009, approximately 10-15 million sq.ft, of new IT/ITeS space will enter the Coimbatore market.
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  • Land for Salem road: Tamil Nadu to rope in opposition B Sivakumar| TNN | Updated: Jun 24, 2018, 07:13 IST

    Representative image

    CHENNAI: Concerned about the opposition to the proposed Chennai-Salem greenfield expressway project, the state government is planning to take opposition leaders on board to speed up land acquisition. Regional opposition leaders are likely to be engaged in the consultation process, said sources in the government. Land is to be acquired for the project from 20,000 owners in five districts.

    Sources in the secretariat said the state government and the Centre are keen on fast-tracking the project. The governments are keen on completing the land acquisition fast.

    “We came to know that in almost all districts, local opposition party leaders are not opposed to the project. A senior opposition leader met a district collector recently and gave a petition seeking proper compensation to the land owners. His petition clearly says he is not against the project,” said a senior official.

    The expressway between Chennai and Salem is the first phase of the project. “Once the land acquisition between Chennai and Salem is over, we will start the second phase between Salem and Coimbatore for which the blueprint is yet to be prepared. The road, once completed, will connect Chennai and Cochin,” said the official.

    “The state government is acting only as a facilitator to the Centre and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). Beyond that, there is no role for the state government in the project. It is in a hurry to finish the land acquisition as it does not want the owners to change their mind,” said the official.

    The NHAI is flush with funds and it is ready to allocate adequate amount needed for the project. “If there are problems in land acquisition with protests breaking out in districts along the expressway, we will lower 8-lane expressway to 4-lane expressway,” said a senior official in Chennai NHAI.

    Once the expressway is ready, one can travel from Chennai to Coimbatore in five hours. “As of now, it takes more than eight hours to travel from Chennai to Coimbatore. The distance from Chennai to Salem will come down by 60 km. Only speeding vehicles will be allowed to travel on expressway. Two-wheelers, auto-rickshaws and other slow-moving vehicles will not be allowed to ply along the highway,” said the official. There would be underpasses at frequent intervals for vehicles to cross the highway, said the official.

    “The centre has prepared the blueprint for the project after studying images taken by Isro and Google,” said the NHAI official.


  • Coimbatore hobbles in cleanliness race, retains 16th position TNN | Updated: Jun 24, 2018, 05:48 IST
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    COIMBATORE: For the second time in a row, Coimbatore has emerged the second cleanest city in Tamil Nadu. However, it failed to improve the Swachh Survekshan ranking by remaining at the 16th position.

    Coimbatore, along with Trichy, are the only two cities in the state to make it to the top 20 cleanest cities in the Swachh Survekshan results released on Saturday. In the rankings released in January, Coimbatore had moved up two places from 18 to 16.

    The cities were marked for various categories like 1,400 marks for service-level progress, 1,200 marks for data collection through direct observation and 1,400 marks for citizen feedback and Swachhata app. Coimbatore’s total score was 3,292 marks out of 4,000. However, the scores could not be compared with the previous year’s scores because cities were marked out of a total of 2,400 marks.

    Coimbatore seems to have scored high in categories such as solid waste collection and transportation, solid waste processing and disposal, open defecation free/toilets and capacity building efforts. Under the category of municipal self-declaration, it has scored 1,219 out of 1,400, in direct observation it scored only 983 out of 1,200 and citizen feedback scores too were low at 1,090 out of 1,400.

    City corporation commissioner K Vijayakarthikeyan said that giving importance and acting on citizen’s feedback played a major role in retaining the ranking. “We set a process in place and worked on maintaining the systems to keep places clean. This time, I think the importance we gave to acting on citizen’s feedback ensured that we got more feedback. We still do have a few gaps to fill to move higher in the rankings — mainly men and machinery and improving primary garbage collection. Citizens’ role also has to be appreciated because they want to work with the corporation, duly co-ordinate with us for all our efforts and schemes to ensure they are successful. They took many initiatives to improve cleanliness, recycling of waste and waste processing,” he said. The corporation mainly concentrated on achieving the target of household toilets, cleaning and renovating the community toilets and ensuring door-to-door collection in all 100 wards. They worked in hand with the residential welfare associations, college students to spread awareness and implement waste management.
    Erode, on the other hand, dropped from the 42nd place to 51. Tirupur, which had secured 68th place last year, did not feature in the top 100 list.

  • Coimbatore lacks infrastructure for dedicated suburban train services TNN | Updated: Jun 24, 2018, 05:30 IST
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    COIMBATORE: The suburban trains in the city are now running on time, but any increase in frequency or introduction of more services might change the scenario. Presently, the city has only two services - a train to Mettupalayam and another to Pollachi. While the train to Mettupalayam offers four round trips, the train to Pollachi does only one service. So, there is adequate time to take out track maintenance activities.

    Unlike the suburban rail travel system in Chennai, where they are dedicated tracks for suburban and local services and trains arrive almost every three to five minutes, in the city the frequency of suburban trains is once in two hours. “We do not have dedicated tracks for local and suburban trains,” said a railways spokesperson, adding, “Since we are not as congested as Chennai, we do not have signal issues.”

    This also allows track maintenance works to be taken up regularly on the stretch. “We have two sets of tracks, uplane and downlane. So, when we need to take up track maintenance works, we just close the corridor for around four hours and complete it,” said a senior officer. “Only if there are major works such as track replacement or bridge strengthening, trains get delayed or rescheduled,” he added.

    Rail activists, meanwhile, pointed to the need for revamping the infrastructure as and when the number of suburban rail services to be increased. “The Coimbatore-Tirupur travellers depend on Coimbatore-Nagercoil passenger train and the Coimbatore Pollachi travellers take the Coimbatore-Shoranur passenger train,” said G K Nagaraj of Kongunadu Jananayaka katchi.

    “If dedicated suburban trains are introduced in these routes with four to five round trips a day, we would need a dedicated track to avoid delays,” he said. “The same applies for the Coimbatore-Mettupalayam train too. We could do with a train at least once an hour” he added.

  • Residents of Vadavalli take up their woes with officials tnn | Jun 25, 2018, 00:57 IST

    Residents of Vadavalli and the surrounding areas gathered at Arun Nagar park here on Sunday morning to discuss the civic issues with the city corporation and the police officials – an opportunity unparalleled.

    The platform was none other than the third edition of Times Connect, an event organised by the Times of India to bridge the gap between the citizens and bureaucrats. During the interactive session that lasted for over two hours, the residents not only sought solutions to their vexing problems, but also spoke about their contribution to the society.

    Using the occasion to create awareness among the people, corporation commissioner K Vijayakathikeyan urged the residents to use bio bags, instead of plastic bags. He also asked them to use water sensitively to avoid its wastage.

    “With the limited resource and manpower, we have been doing our best to improve the condition of the city and the efficiency of the services,” he said.

    Issues ranging from negligence of police officials to register a First Information Report (FIR) in dog poisoning incidents to damaging the roads to failure to give sewer lines to the households were discussed at the event.

    Recalling the incident when a large number of dogs were poisoned in the regions around Vadavalli, Aravindan from Humane Animal Society said the police officials had not registered a single FIR till date, despite several complaints in this regard.

    The investigation stops completely with the registration of Community Service Register. The officials do not even visit the spot, Aravindan added.

    Responding to the complaint, Perur DSP A Velmurugan said he would take steps to sensitise the police officials, as the awareness level was little low among them when it comes to handling issues involving animals. Requesting the residents to note down the name of police officials, who refused to register an FIR, he promised to take proper action against the erring officials.

    “We are planning to issue pamphlets featuring the numbers of the officials, who are patrolling the region, within a week,” the DSP said and urged the public to inform them via WhatsApp whenever they leave the house for a long period. “The night patrolling team will keep an eye on such houses during their night rounds,” he said.

    When Muthukumar, of New Thillai Nagar residents’ welfare association, suggested that the women, who are traveling at night hours, could carry a whistle and blow it during the emergency situation, the police officials appreciated and accepted it.

    He also said the roads were dug up throughout the region for water pipeline work and the works carried by a telecom company. “All the pits are left open without a warning board or barricade,” he said recalling numerous incidents when it had led to accidents, mainly during the raining seasons.

    Explaining that the work was carried out by Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board (TWAD) to improve the water supply scheme, Rajesh Venugopal, corporation engineer, said the work order was being issued to do patch work on the roads.

    Meanwhile, R T Rangachari of Thiruvalluvar Nagar said the layout, which was approved by the Directorate of Town and Country Planning in 1984, did not have sewer lines. There are over 150 families residing in the layout. Top this, corporation officials said they would to take appropriate action soon.


  • Illegal fences in Bhavani Sagar water spread area removed STAFF REPORTER
    COIMBATORE, JUNE 26, 2018 00:00 IST
    UPDATED: JUNE 26, 2018 03:56 IST

    Swift action:Forest Department officials removing illegal electric fences from a banana plantation along the water spread area of Bhavani Sagar Dam at Sirumugai in Coimbatore on Monday.Special Arrangement The action follows a recent order by the Madras High Court
    The Forest Department and the Water Resources Organisation of PWD (Bhavani Sagar Dam), on Monday, removed illegal electric fences erected by farmers over a distance of 20 km along both sides of the water spread area of Bhavani Sagar Dam in Coimbatore district. The fences were removed based on a recent order by the Madras High Court.

    A team comprising 50 staff from the Forest Department and 30 staff from the PWD removed the fences erected in areas coming under Sirumugai Forest Range of the Coimbatore Forest Division. Though the dam is situated in Erode district, water spread area of the reservoir stretches several kilometres through the Sirumugai Forest Range.

    According to the forest officials, fences erected over a distance of 10 km along Nilgiris eastern slope side and 11 km on the Mothur-Pethikuttai side of dam’s water spread area were removed in the joint exercise. The fences were erected by farmers to protect crops, mainly banana, from wild animals that stray into farm lands. They have been cultivating crops in the water spread area for several decades, when the dam’s water level recedes during summer.

    “The fences were removed with the protection of police. There was no resistance from farmers as most of them knew that the Forest staff and the PWD were executing the court order. Some of the farmers who had erected fences voluntarily removed them before the team from the Forest Department and PWD visited the area,” said E.N. Manoharan, forest range officer, Sirumugai.

    With the fences removed, movement of elephants from Nilgiris eastern slope side to Mothur-Pethikuttai side will be enabled.

    “So far, movement of elephants across the water spread area was not possible due to fences. Nilgiris eastern slope side is rich in fodder. Elephants can now freely roam across the water spread area when water level is low,” said Mr. Manoharan adding that patrols will be conducted to ensure that farmers do not erect fences further. The High Court had ordered removal of illegal electric fences following a writ petition filed by T. Murugavel of Chennai.


  • ‘Civic body will have overall control in water distribution’

    Karthik Madhavan COIMBATORE, JUNE 26, 2018 00:00 IST
    UPDATED: JUNE 26, 2018 03:47 IST

    ‘Civic body will have overall control in water distribution’
    City residents urged not to get panic or fall prey to rumours

    For you to taste Siruvani water, you will have to pay tax to French, is one of the several social media rumours doing the rounds in Coimbatore. The rumour relates to the 24x7 drinking water supply scheme that the Coimbatore Corporation has just started implementing with funds from the Central Government.

    The civic body has awarded the contract to execute the project to the French multinational firm Suez Projects. The second rumour is that the city residents will have to only consume the water the private company, Suez Projects, supplies. And, they will get water only if they money and the quantity of water supplied will depend on the money paid by the consumer. If no money is paid, the company will not supply even a drop of water.

    The rumours are doing the rounds notwithstanding the fact that the Corporation issued clarifications by way if a release it had issued a few days ago.

    Officials in the civic body say either misinformed or ignorant elements are behind spreading such rumours as the company, Suez Projects, is executing the project only on its behalf. The Corporation has awarded the project, after due diligence at various stages and with Central and State governments’ approval at that.

    They say that the company will replace all pipelines in the 60 wards (old 72 wards), fix water meters, build automated water supply management centre and maintain the infrastructure for supplying water to over 1.50 lakh consumers.

    The company will execute the project in five years and maintain the system for 21 years, for which the Corporation has estimated the approximate cost at Rs. 2,961 crore. Throughout the execution and maintenance periods, the Corporation will retain control over the water, its authority to fix water consumption charges and also decide who should get connection and whose water connection is to be cut.

    The contract awarded to Suez in no way authorises the company to decide water charges or which water connection to be cut.

    Commissioner K. Vijayakarthikeyan says the existing arrangement that the Corporation will decide water charges with approval from the Corporation Council and State Government, that too after taking public objections into account, and the new rate will come into effect after a gazette publication will continue.

    Therefore, there is no basis in the rumours and the city's residents need not panic.

    The officials also say that the city’s residents will deposit the money in to a separate account the Corporation will maintain for the purpose. And, the power to operate the account will rest with the Corporation Commissioner.

    Suez Projects will merely facilitate payment of money into the account by way of hand-held meters and operating payment centres.

    On the checks and balances put in place, Mr. Vijayakarthikeyan says the State Government vetted the detailed project report prepared for the project. It also evaluated the tender in detail involving officials from Finance, Law, Municipal Administration and Water Supply departments and experts from the Tamil Nadu Infrastructure Development Board. Therefore, to suggest that the civic body has forgone its rights by implementing the project is wrong.

    The officials complement him saying that the Corporation is also in the process of appointing an independent expert – project management consultant – who will evaluate the progress of the project in stages and only after the consultant certifies will the civic body release payments to Suez Projects.In short, the officials say that the Corporation will have an overall control in water distribution and that the residents need not panic or fall prey to rumours.

    The Coimbatore Corporation has privatised water supply by giving contract to a French company. It could have very well given the task to the Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board, which has expertise. The project will lead only to increase in water charges.N.Karthik,Singanallur MLA.

    Bringing in professionalism in water supply is very much needed. But the Corporation could have been transparent by sharing details at every stage of the project. It should have involved the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Coimbatore, Codissia and civic activists for wider consultations. This would have put to rest rumours.

    Vanitha Mohan,chairperson, Chamber.

    The water supply project will take Coimbatore to the next stage of development. It is a project aimed at improving efficiency, which the rumour-mongers do not want. State Government should act against those who spread rumours and act fast before the situation goes out of control.

    S.R. Seghar,State Treasurer, Bharatiya Janata Party.


  • Voices against privatisation of water supply get louder TNN | Updated: Jun 27, 2018, 07:31 IST Representative image

    COIMBATORE: Voices against privatisation of the ambitious water supply project in Coimbatore seem to grow louder by the day, with activists now questioning the validity of the decision to privatise an essential service by the corporation special officer in the absence of an elected council.

    Special officers substituting the right of elected corporation councils and passing resolutions and taking crucial policy decisions without deliberation and consideration in the council is against the constitution, an NGO has said, proclaiming to approach the court against the privatisation. Former councillors also say that given the scale of the project – Rs 2,661 crore for 26 years – a special officer cannot take the decision without consulting the council.

    “We are preparing to file a miscellaneous petition before the Madras high court to declare the awarding of the contract null and void,” said A Narayanan, director of ChangeIndia, a Chennai-based NGO.

    Narayanan said that ChangeIndia had filed a writ petition in 2017 in HC challenging the appointment of special officers as unconstitutional and the court had reserved the orders. Similarly, in May 2018, the organisation had filed another petition seeking an interim injunction on special officers of local bodies from taking any decision on implementation of schemes or passing any resolution until legally-elected bodies are in place. “Notices have been issued by the court to the state and the Central government with regard to the petition. The hearing is likely to come up anytime. The Coimbatore corporation has no authority to award the contract without public consultation to a private company,” Narayanan told TOI.

    Floating of tender, scrutiny of the tenders, finalisation of the eligible bidder and awarding contract for distribution of drinking water should have been placed before an elected municipal council with mayor and councillors, who are the elected representatives of people, he said.

    Former DMK councillor SM Samy also said the corporation ought to have consulted the council before taking the decision to award the contract to a private firm. “Essential services should always be with the government and not private companies,” he said.

    A senior corporation official, however, defended the move, saying that the project was discussed in the council way back in 2008 and a resolution was adopted to rope in a private firm. “The resolution was passed on August 22, 2018,” he said.

    But, former councillors rubbished the claim stating that the resolution was for roping in a consultant for the project and not for implementing the project. “Roping in private consultants for a government project is not new. But implementation would not be given to them,” said a former councillor.

  • Government launches study on dedicated water scheme for 10 panchayats of Tirupur union TNN | Updated: Jun 27, 2018, 09:07 IST

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    TIRUPUR: The state government has directed the Tamil Nadu water supply and drainage board (Twad) to conduct a detailed study to meet the drinking water requirements of 10 panchayats in the Tirupur union.

    The government announced a separate water scheme for all the 10 panchayats in the assembly, Tirupur north AIADMK MLA KN Vijayakumar said.

    On Monday, a group of villagers from Thoravalur had petitioned the district administration raising the demand. “We have been facing drinking water scarcity for a long time. We came to know that out of the 10 panchayats, only Kankkampalayam, Kalipalayam and Pongupalayam, which are presently covered under the third water scheme, may be included in the fourth water scheme. So, we wanted the government to include the other panchayats, Eetiverampalayam, Vallipuram, Thoravalur, Merkupathi, Pattampalayam, Chokkanur and Perumanallur, in the scheme” said MS Sambath Kumar of Thoravalur.

    “As many as 167 hamlets under the 10 panchayats will be served under the scheme,” Vijayakumar told TOI. “These panchayats do not have a separate water scheme but get water from schemes like the third water scheme. With a population of 1.25 lakh, more than 1MLD will be needed for the 10 panchayats. After receiving the report from Twad, the government will decide from where to draw the water for the new scheme,” he added.


  • Expedite work on rail overbridge, demand residents TNN | Updated: Jun 27, 2018, 09:28 IST Representative image

    COIMBATORE: About 100 people, including the residents of Avarampalayam and Ganapathy, gathered at the district revenue office (south) on the State Bank Road on Tuesday, demanding the state government to expedite the construction of the rail overbridge at Avarampalayam.

    The protesters, under the banner of Avarampalayam Ganapathy Railway Overbridge Protest Committee, gathered at the office around 10.30am and protested till noon. They said that after they went on a hunger strike on October 30, the district administration and the railway officials had promised to start the construction by December. The railway had to construct the portion of the bridge under its land and the Coimbatore corporation was to construct the roads leading to the bridge as well as the service roads.

    The protesters said that the railway stuck to its promise and began the construction in December. “Work is going on at a brisk pace and the structure has been erected. They are confident of completing their portion by September,” said P Devarajan, a senior member of the community. “However, the state government has not made any move to start their portion of the work,” he told TOI.

    The government has not even taken steps to acquire the land required for the project, the protesters said. “The price on the land has been fixed at Rs 3,500 per squarefeet and all the landowners are willing to give their land. The documents are ready and owners have given letters expressing their willingness to the DRO,” said Devarajan. “However, the government has not taken it forward.”

    The residents said that the government is yet to realise the importance of the bridge and the problems they face during the peak hours when the railway gate is lowered.

  • Corpn to set up one more solar plant Nivedha Selvam| Nivedha.Selvam1@timesgroup.com | Jun 28, 2018, 01:09 IST

    Coimbatore: The Coimbatore City Municipal Corporation (CCMC) to set up a 3.6megawatt solar plant at Ukkadam in addition to the existing one at the same locality.

    The civic body as part of the ‘Smart City’ project has sent a proposal to set up the second solar power plant at Ukkadam at the cost of Rs 17 crore. The first plant at Ukkadam as well as one more at Kavundampalaym – each with a capacity of one megawatt – is under construction.

    The new plant at Ukkadam to come up in an area of 15 acres adjacent to the sewage treatment plant (STP), consists of 11,286 solar panels, each with a capacity of 320 watts, a senior officer of the city corporation said, adding that establishment of the plant would cost around Rs 4.5 crore per megawatt.

    Power generated at both the plants would be transferred, directly, to the grids as the power plants would be connected to the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation’s (Tangedco) sub-station at Ukkadam, the official said. The power generated at the plants would be used to offset the electricity bills.

    The civic body has been paying over Rs 20 crore per annum for its power consumption to the Tangedco for two sewage treatment plants (STPs) at Ukkadam and Ondipudur along with the water treatment and pumping stations at Velliangadu and Pillur, the official said

    “The power generated at the 3.6megawatt power plant alone could save about Rs 3.2 crore per annum and the power generated at all the three power plants would save over Rs 5 crore per annum in its electricity bills,” the official added.

    While civic body has decided to utilize the power generated at both the solar plants to offset the electricity charges paid for operating the water pumping station at Velliangadu, the official said that they were yet to take a decision regarding the proposed plant.

    Meanwhile, the civic body after obtaining clearance from the chief electrical inspector to the government, is waiting for a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the Tangedco. The official said that the solar plant at Ukkadam would start functioning once they receive NOC and they are expecting NOC within a few days’ time.

    The installation work of the power plant at Kavundampalayam is expected to be completed within two-month time, the official added.

  • Land acquisition at CMC Colony for Ukkadam flyover gathers pace Nivedha Selvam| Nivedha.Selvam1@timesgroup.com | Jun 28, 2018, 01:11 IST

    Coimbatore: Land acquisition for the Ukkadam flyover has gathered pace with the city corporation issuing eviction notices to residents of CMC Colony.

    The civic body has issued notices to 209 residents who are living in the locality for more than 40 years.

    While the residents who were issued eviction notice would be moved to the housing units of the Tamil Nadu slum clearance board, the land would be handed over to the highways department for the construction of Ukkadam flyover.

    For the project, a four-lane flyover would be constructed from Vincent Road Junction to Karumbukadai Junction for about 1.48km, while it would have a loop opposite to old Vincent Road for about 388m and a two-lane from Naaz Theatre to Vincent Road for about 248m, according to the highways department. The flyover would be for a total of 1.97km.

    The civic body had already removed 28 shops, and eviction notice was given to remaining shops between Naaz Theatre and Ukkadam police station, shops in fruit market and over 60 dwelling units of Washermen Colony.

    “In order to provide land to the highways department for the flyover project, we have issued notices to the sanitary workers who were living at the colony for over 40 years,” said a senior official from the corporation, adding that the houses that are near the slaughterhouses would be demolished for road extension.

    Alternative accommodation would be provided for the residents through the slum clearance board at Malumichampatti, the official said, adding that the residents were directed to vacate the places within 15 days.

    Upon failing to vacate, necessary actions would be taken, the official said, adding that the fruit shops that were given eviction notices would be removed within a month time. The fruit shops would be moved to the new premises near the fish market.

    Meanwhile, the city traffic police cleared obstructions near the Ukkadam police station. As many as six fruit stalls had encroached about two feet of road, thus causing obstruction to the traffic flow, an official said.


  • Schools asked to do away with plastics TNN | Jun 28, 2018, 01:28 IST

    Coimbatore: The directorate of the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), Chennai, has sent a communication to the programme coordinators and chief educational officers of districts across the state to stop the usage of one-time use and throw plastics in educational offices and schools.

    The communication dated June 25 cited chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami’s announcement in the state assembly on June 5 that there will be a ban on production, storage and usage of one-time use and throw plastics from January 1, 2019.

    Coimbatore chief education officer P Ayyannan said his office received the communication on Wednesday. “While the ban would come to effect only from 2019, we have been instructed to stop using one-time use plastics immediately. We will discuss the issue in the headmasters meeting to be held on Thursday,” he said.

    One-time use and throw plastics cups were mainly used in meetings and workshops conducted by the department, said Ayyannan. He added that he would discuss with school heads on alternatives for this.

  • Polluting gelatin factory in Ooty ordered to close down Shantha Thiagarajan| TNN | Jun 30, 2018, 10:45 IST
    Water bodies were found polluted due to discharge of effluents from the industrial unit

    COIMBATORE: Sterling Biotech Ltd, an industrial unit manufacturing edible and non-edible grade gelatin at Sandynallah near Ooty was issued closure order by the state pollution control board on Friday. Electricity connection was disconnected based on a report of the TNPCB. The unit had failed to implement the earlier orders of the board within the prescribed period.

    Water bodies, including the Sandynallah river, Pykara river and the Kamarajar dam were found polluted due to discharge of effluents from the industrial unit.

    Nalini, district environmental engineer, TNPCB, Coimbatore, and in charge of Nilgiris district, told TOI, "The electricity board has been instructed to disconnect the power supply to Sterling Biotech Ltd in Ooty because the industry failed to adhere to the orders issued by the TNPCB within the stipulated period." The order reads, "The unit was instructed to provide zero liquid discharge system to treat the waste and to recycle the waste water inside the premises and not to discharge it outside. But the unit failed to implement the system within the prescribed period. Hence the electricity board has been advised to disconnect power to the unit."

    In April, after several petitions to the administration failed, Toda tribes residing near the unit approached Siddharth Krishnan, an Ooty-based environment sociologist attached to ATREE, with a letter signed by all villagers uring him to conduct a study on the pollution caused by the effluents discharged by Sterling.

    The water samples collected by Siddharth from different places in Sandynallah showed high COD and ammonia-nitrogen levels. The test was conducted in the ATREE water laboratory, an accredited lab.

  • Collector asks farmers to engage in talks on high-voltage transmission line project Rajasekaran RK| TNN | Updated: Jun 30, 2018, 14:45 IST Representative image

    TIRUPUR: District collector K S Palanisamy has asked the farmers who have raised their dissenting voices against high-voltage transmission lines project to engage in talks with the district administration.

    He addressed the farmers at the monthly grievance meeting held in the city on Friday.

    Palanisamy said, “It is important to talk about the issues case by case. If the interaction would not happen in the ground level, such issues cannot be sorted out.”

    The Power Grid Corporation of India is linking Tamil Nadu’s Pugalur and Chhattisgarh’s Raigarh in the 1,830-km long high-voltage transmission line project at a cost of Rs 5,700 crore. The central government is bringing up the project to tap about 6,000 mw electricity generated from renewable energy. In Tamil Nadu, the transmission lines will cross at least 14 districts.

    The co-federation formed by various farmers’ groups have urged the central government to implement the project as underground. There would be numerous restrictions if the transmission lines pass through their agricultural lands, they claimed.

    “The government is ready to provide adequate compensation to the properties. It could be done properly only if the discussions would be held case by case. For the lands to be acquired, the farmers could get 225% higher compensation than government guideline value or market value, whichever is higher,” said the collector.

    M Rajamani of Tamil Nadu Vivasaigal Pathukappu Sangam said, “The Tiruvannamalai district administration has announced to provide compensation of Rs 80,000 per coconut tree for Salem-Chennai eight-lane greenway project, so the Tirupur districtadministration should also provide the same amount to a coconut tree instead of Rs 40,000.”

    The collector said the administration will involve in talks with the neighbouring districts and fix uniform compensation for the crops and properties which may be acquired for this project.


  • Salem-Chennai highway not for benefit of any individual: Tamil Nadu CM PTI | Jun 30, 2018, 16:22 IST Tamil Nadu chief minister K Palaniswami on Saturday denied charges that the Salem-Chennai expressway project w... Read More

    COIMBATORE: Tamil Nadu chief minister K Palaniswami on Saturday denied charges that the Salem-Chennai expressway project was meant to benefit private miners, and termed it someone's "figment of imagination" to bring disgrace to the government.

    "(The question) itself is a figment of imagination, to bring bad name to the government... The project is not meant for the benefit of any individual but for overall development of Tamil Nadu," Palaniswami told reporters at Salem Airport.

    He said some people out of "political vendetta" were trying to stop the Rs 10,000-crore eight-lane project by "provoking people."

    Palaniswami was responding to a query on reports that the expressway project was meant to favour private miners.

    Stating that the road was a central government project and the state was assisting in its implementation, he said Tamil Nadu government was taking steps to get adequate compensation to those from whom the land was acquired.

    Not only Salem, but the nearby districts of Erode, Karur and Coimbatore would also progress industrially, once the road is laid, he noted.

    Nearly 16,214 lives have been lost on this stretch in road accidents and the state government was bound to provide a quality road to the public, using modern technology, he added.

    Noting that a large expanse of land was acquired during the rule, Palaniswami said the present government was offering more compensation than that given during the DMK dispensation, as the guideline value had increased.

    In view of the increasing fuel prices and considering the last six months' average, he claimed diesel prices could increase further and said the transport sector will therefore benefit from the eight-lane project, as the distance will be reduced. A lorry can save up to Rs 1,050 on diesel with reduction of distance by 60 km, which also minimizes the wear and tear, the chief minister said.
    Amid opposition, Palaniswami had recently asserted in the state assembly the highway project would boost economic growth and its gains far outweighed other factors.

    The 277.3-km-long eight-lane greenfield project under the Centre's 'Bharatmala Pariyojana', would stimulate growth like the Mumbai-Pune and Delhi-Agra expressway projects, he had said.