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- Corpn seeks comprehensive plan to restore Noyyal River Jan 20, 2019, 00:26 IST
Coimbatore: Under the smart city project, the city corporation has invited tender for a detailed project report on how to restore a portion of Noyyal River.
The report should include ways to strengthen the riverbed, improve access to the river for pedestrians and cyclists, identify polluting factors and remedial measures to be taken. “About seven to eight kilometres of the river flows within the city limits. We want to revamp and restore those portions, so that water flows freely. It will also include cleaning and restoration of the main canals that take water from the river to the many water bodies in the city,” a senior corporation engineer said.
The bids should be submitted on January 21. The selected consultant will have four months to prepare the report, which should have a feasibility study, which includes a water management plan, a master plan for Noyyal River area with geocoding, assessment of environmental and social issues, biodiversity assessment, traffic plan and land use classification or pattern in and around the river area.
While some activists welcomed the river restoration initiative, others called it an eyewash. Unless the civic body comes up with a way to stop sewage and garbage contamination of the canals, no project can restore the historic river, they told TOI.
A plan to tackle sewage contamination should become the first priority, some environmentalists said. “With a master plan, we can remove encroachments from the lake areas and once a proper road comes on the both sides of the river, then dumping of garbage and pollutants will stop,” says R Raveendran of Residents Awareness Associations of Coimbatore. “However, it is critical that the two big canals that take water to the Ukkadam lake from Perur lake and Singanallur lake from Vellalore lake, are cleaned, desilted and removed of sewage inlets.”
R Manikandan of Kovai Kulangal Padhukaapu Amaippu agreed, saying that stopping sewage contamination of even the smaller canals that take water from one lake to another is critical. “Sewage contamination must be stopped at every level. Instead of creating roads on both sides of the river, the revenue land allotted for the river should be converted into green patches. Instead of building compound walls along the lakes, they should create a mud ramp, allowing the lakes to interact with the green patch on the bunds. This will help revive the ecosystem,” he said.
Vanitha Mohan, managing trustee of Siruthuli, said local bodies should stop dumping of garbage into lakes and canals. “This has led to the channels carrying water getting chocked. The Krishnampathy lake is filled with bottles and plastic waste,” she said. “ Also, instead of a single consultant preparing the DPR, the report should be prepared after conducting workshops attended by stakeholders, including experts.”
- Plastic demon threatens sanctity of Vanabadrakali Amman Temple Rajasekaran RK | tnn | Jan 21, 2019, 00:13 IST
Coimbatore: Decades ago, devotees used to take a dip in the nearby Bhavani river before offering prayer in the Vanabadrakali Amman Temple at Thekkampatti near Mettupalayam. They now hesitate to even visit the riverbank, littered with trash, including plastic. Discarded carry bags and clothes float on the once pristine river.
“Due to pollution, devotees hesitate to even wash their legs in the river. Those who tonsure their heads as part of vow, find the water too dirty to take bath,” said K Ravichandran, a devotee.
Spread over 15 acres on the banks of Bhavani, the temple was one of the main pilgrimage destinations in the western Tamil Nadu. Bathing in the river before entering the temple was a part of the ritual. All that changed after a check dam was constructed at Samayapuram, one-and-a-half-kilometre from the temple, which resulted in stagnation of water.
Now, poor implementation of the plastic ban has made the situation worse at the Hindu religious and charitable endowment (HR&CE) department-run temple. Piles of discarded plastic products adorn the temple premises. The temple administration has failed to set up a proper waste disposal system. There is not even a single dustbin on the temple premises.
The official apathy is evident as even prasadam is wrapped in single use plastic. Shops including food stalls near the temple continue to use plastic. Devotees, who discard clothes and other belongings in the water body as a ritualistic practice, are also to be blamed. Besides floating betel leaves with burning camphor in the river, they drop the belongings, including plastic bags. Though the temple does not act as a place for performing such rituals as at Kooduthurai, a holy place situated in the Erode district, the belief grew over the years.
“As the padithurai (bathing ghat) was getting polluted, the department appointed a coracle operator to remove clothes and plastic from the river,” an HR & CE official said.
However, trash containing plastic is burnt on the riverbank, causing air pollution. HR&CE department is taking steps to implement the plastic ban and improve the waste disposal system, assistant commissioner K Ramu said. “But it is not easy to ensure cleanliness in the village-bound temple mainly because of lack of awareness among the devotees about plastic pollution. People keep on throwing their belongings in the river. We have proposed to construct a concrete-lined pond inside the river at cost of Rs 47lakh so that the devotees could take dip safely. We will also streamline the waste disposal system,” he told TOI.
- Corporation sets up five teams to crack down on banned plastics TNN | Updated: Jan 29, 2019, 12:54 IST
COIMBATORE: Almost a month after the ban on single-use plastics was implemented in the state, the city corporation has seized about 2,276kg of plastics and collected Rs 4.29 lakh as fine so far.
The corporation has formed five teams each comprising of six officials including a sanitary inspector. “Each team would be incharge of a zone. They will conduct regular inspection to curtail usage of single-use plastics,” said a corporation offical.
A team of officials on Monday seized about 10kg of plastic bags from a shopkeeper at Town Hall in central zone and slapped a penalty of Rs 10,000. “This is the highest seizure from a single shop in the past few days as use of plastics has actually come down in the city,” the official said.
“While we had collected over 817.5kg of plastic items on the first day (January 2) from shops and houses, now we hardly seize a few kilograms of plastics. While most of the restaurants and public have completely stopped using the banned products, some grocery shops and meat shops are continuing the use,” the official said. The officials, so far, has conducted 124 raids in the city and issued notices to 176 establishments after finding banned items at their place, the official added.
- Seeking free housing plots, villagers try to stop speaker Dhanapal TNN | Jan 30, 2019, 01:09 IST
Tirupur: Residents of adi dravidar colony near Sundakkampalayam attempted to lay siege to assembly speaker P Dhanapal, condemning the state government for its failure to provide them free housing plots near Avinashi in the district on Tuesday.
The incident took place when Dhanapal was returning after inaugurating road work at Sundakkampalayam near Nambiyampalayam.
Meanwhile, more than 50 residents of adi aravidar colony waited for him on the way to petition that their long pending demand of allotting free housing plots to them was yet to be addressed.
As information about a possible siege protest reached the police, they beefed up the security under Avinashi deputy superintendent of police P Paramasamy. Though police requested the villagers not to assemble, the latter refused to move.
They successfully petitioned the speaker and urged him to take steps to meet their demand. Dhanapal promised to help them. But not satisfied with his reply, they tried to stage a siege protest, but police thwarted their effort and took Dhanapal away from the spot.
- Bamboo dustbins get mixed reactions, corporation looks for better options Taking another step to make the city plastic-free, the city corporation along with a group of college students has placed 20 bamboo dustbins at Gandhipuram town bus stand recently.
TNN | Updated: Jan 31, 2019, 10:19 IST
COIMBATORE: Taking another step to make the city plastic-free, the city corporation along with a group of college students has placed 20 bamboo dustbins at Gandhipuram town bus stand recently.
“It is an attempt to reduce the use of plastics. The idea popped up a few days ago when a group of college students approached the sanitary inspector of Gandhipuram expressing their interest to do something for the betterment of the city,” Gunasekaren, zonal health officer of central zone, said.
While appreciating the efforts taken by the corporation, some commuters and shopkeepers expressed their reservations as well. “Dustbins are adjacent to benches where commuters wait. As they are open, and their walls have gaps, waste spills over and entire area attracts flies. The actual purpose of dustbins is neutralized,” said Sreenivasan, a commuter, adding, “A bin should not have so many holes and it should be closed.”
One of the shopkeepers Anil Kumar said bamboo dustbins were breakable. “So, they could be used at homes but not at public places. Besides, they easily catch fire. An accident could be caused by an unextinguished cigarette butt,” he said.
Defending the move, Gunasekaren said, “It is the first time such an initiative has been taken. We will study the merits and demerits of the bins and replace them with advanced ones.”
Another official admitted there were some issues. “The compostable bags placed inside the bins are getting torn by sharp points in bins. We asked the students to replace the existing ones with better ones. Once a sustainable model is in place, the idea will be extended to other areas too,” the official added.
- Trio from Coimbatore college make smart bin to segregate waste TNN | Feb 1, 2019, 11:20 IST
Picture used for representational purpose only
COIMBATORE: While the state government is hell-bent on eliminating plastic waste, the issue of waste segregation and disposal still looms large.
A smart bin developed by two computer science students and a faculty of engineering with the Avinashilingam Institute for Home Science and Higher Education for Women at Varapalayam, near the city, can segregate degradable and non-degradable waste. The prototype works using a microcontroller, sensors and a mechanical arm.
The team consists of two final-year computer science students Rochanaa Shri M and Nithuna RL, who were guided by assistant professor M Aasha.
The smart bin uses three sensors to detect metal, plastic and wet waste, said Aasha. “The sensors are controlled by a microcontroller. The sensors detect the nature of the waste and based on that, a mechanical arm is activated, which pushes the waste to an appropriate compartment,” she said. “We have currently designed the prototype for domestic conditions. We are working on developing this to suit the necessities of the municipal corporation.”
The team is planning to add a laser cutter that can cut open trash bags and take the contents out. “The cost of the prototype is Rs 6,000. Along with an attached garbage bin set-up, it would go up to Rs 8,000.”
They wanted to solve the difficulties faced by people living in residential apartments in segregating waste. “As the city municipal corporation, through its smart city mission, is also looking for effective waste management methods, we thought of converting the idea into a prototype. While the current prototype is powered by a battery, we are looking to make it work using a solar powersystem,” Aasha said.
The team is also planning to patent the smart bin.
Aasha said that while the entire team was from the computer science department, they used electronic and mechanical components as the need for inter-disciplinary research was on the rise. “We got full support from our department and the department head S Sivakumari,” she added.
- ‘Union and state governments should take steps to save Western Ghats’ TNN | Feb 4, 2019, 00:17 IST
Coimbatore: The three-day national-level ecological festival for saving the Western Ghats came to an end in the city on Sunday with a declaration on the ‘Future of the Western Ghats Mountain Ecosystem’. It was issued at the ninth conference of the ‘Save the Western Ghats Movement’ held as part of the festival.
The declaration said the Western Ghats, one of eight biodiversity hotspots, had been left to its fate by both the central government and the six state governments, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat which host one part or another of this huge mountain ecosystem.
The declaration said the Union and state governments had abandoned the recommendations of the reports of two expert committees set up by the ministry of environment, forests and climate change. “These recommendations required the governments to install some serious and urgent form of legal protection under the provisions of the Environment Protection Act (EPA), 1986, which would halt the steady degradation of the mountain chain that has taken place over the past decades before it became irreversible,” it said. “Ironically, the decision to abandon the Ghats ecosystem has came a couple of months after extensive flooding during monsoon rainfall in 2018,” it added.
“We declare that we oppose the extremely narrow and limited legal protection that the EPA notification affords to the Western Ghats. We declare that we are opposed to (and will oppose) all environmentally destructive projects that, without doubt, will harm the ghats ecosystem and push it beyond recovery and rehabilitation. We do not want any more studies. All we now want is action,” it said.
Enumerating the destruction caused to the mountain system, the declaration said several species were reaching extinction and reckless road development has led to road kills. It added that introduction of wire mesh fencing has killed sambhar and deer.
The festival, held at Sri Krishna College of Arts and Science, included photo exhibitions, discussions, speeches, a Gaj Yatra and cultural events.
- Construction debris pile up along lakes under Coimbatore civic body's nose
Meanwhile, corporation commissioner K Vijayakarthikeyan said that steps will be taken to streamline the waste disposal process. A tender will be called soon to construct a plant to recycle the debris, he added.Nivedha Selvam | TNN | February 07, 2019, 13:00 IST
COIMBATORE: While the city corporation is speeding up the work to beautify the bunds of Periyakulam along the Perur Bypass, construction debris continue to be deposited on the other side of the road.
People could be seen dumping debris along the road every other day. Corporation officials visit the place often to inspect the ongoing work. But, they never took measures to remove the debris or stop the polluters, said R Muthusamy, a commuter. People used to dump construction waste along the lake bund earlier. Now as the work is going on, they have started to dump it on the other side.
A similar situation prevails along the Valankulam lake.
Disposal of debris has increased in the recent months as the corporation has turned a blind eye to the violation, Ukkadam resident Sameer Ahamed told TOI. A couple of years ago, the corporation used to slap penalty whenever they catch vehicles disposing debris. Now, trucks carrying debris can be seen from afternoon till midnight. Sometimes, corporation vehicles can be seen collecting the debris to fill potholes.
The corporation should slap penalty and seize the vehicles that dump construction waste, said Syed of Osai, an environmental organization. Debris disposed in lakes occupy a considerable space, reduce the lake area and block storm drains when disposed along the roads. The corporation has set up several collection centres across the city to collect construction debris and has even arranged a vehicle to collect debris from sites. But the waste continues to be disposed in public places, mainly due to lack of awareness. Public should co-operate with the officials to conserve nature.
Meanwhile, corporation commissioner K Vijayakarthikeyan said that steps will be taken to streamline the waste disposal process. A tender will be called soon to construct a plant to recycle the debris, he added.
- Coimbatore: Jeeva Nagar residents stage protest against eviction order
The city corporation had stuck eviction notices outside their houses on Friday and a few electricity board officials turned up in the area on Monday morning to suspend electricity supply. TNN | February 19, 2019, 15:30 IST
COIMBATORE: About 60 residents of Jeeva Nagar protested at the district collectorate on Monday demanding patta for the land they are occupying in the area.
The city corporation had stuck eviction notices outside their houses on Friday and a few electricity board officials turned up in the area on Monday morning to suspend electricity supply. But the residents refused to move out of the locality.
The residents said they have filed a case in court against being evicted and got a stay order three months ago against the same. “We were not informed about a development in which the court ordered in another case on January 4 that we should be evicted after given alternative accommodation. We refused multistoried apartments, especially at Keeranatham. We want either pattas for the land where we are staying now or alternative pieces of land in the same locality,” said A L Raja, a resident.
- 20 trees saved from axe to get new lease of life Nivedha Selvam | TNN | Updated: Mar 4, 2019, 05:43 IST
COIMBATORE: Twenty avenue trees along the Pappampatti Pirivu to Sulur Road, which were about to be cut down for widening the road, have been saved following the intervention of an environmental organisation.
The national highways wing of the state highway department had taken up the road widening project for a sum of Rs 17crore and has initially planned to fell about 180 trees, an official said. “But, we received permission to cut only 80 trees from the revenue department,” said an official from the Sulur section of the department.
The department got in touch with environmental organization Osai to find a solution. “After inspecting the trees, we suggested the department to transplant 20 trees from the 8km stretch. The transplantation work will commence within a few days,” said K Syed of Osai. The tree will be uprooted and planted at other places, including a taluk office.
Syed said that government departments will have to plant 10 trees for every tree they cut for developmental works as per a high court direction. “But not all of them follow it. But people are more aware about environmental issues. They question authorities when they see trees being felled. As a result, tens of trees were saved in the recent times,” he told TOI. “Six months ago, when officials were removing trees along the Siruvani Road, people intervened. As a result, the officials felled only 39 out of the 726 trees.”
- Construction workers in Coimbatore district demand housing for them Pratiksha Ramkumar
More than 400 construction workers, from across the district, turned up at the district collectorate demanding housing for them. The workers have been toiling to building houses for others for more than four decades now, but they have been unable to afford houses for themselves.
| TNN | Mar 4, 2019, 15:54 IST
COIMBATORE: More than 400 construction workers, from across the district, turned up at the district collectorate demanding housing for them. The workers have been toiling to building houses for others for more than four decades now, but they have been unable to afford houses for themselves.
The workers said they had been forced to live as encroachers, in slums or as tenants for many years.
Almost 400 workers, living in places across the district including Navakkarai, Sungam, Kannampalayam, Kavundampalayam, Ganapathy and Thudiyalur came to the collectorate stating that they belonged to a building workers welfare association in Pappanaickenpalayam.
“We have been building houses, often risking our lives, for decades but we have been ensured enough pay to afford houses for ourselves. We demand that the government provide us proper housing. We are not migrant workers. We have been working on construction sites in the district for many decades and this is our native,” said Shivashankaran, a worker living in Kannampalayam.
“Most of us live in slums, which are also considered encroachments. We can be removed any time. We need proper houses that belong to us,” said Kaniyamma R, whose husband and son work in construction sites. “Paying rent is also difficult, because we are still daily wage earners. There are days when the men do not have work or do not get paid a standard salary. They sometimes get Rs 500, sometimes its Rs 300,” she added.
“We have submitted petitions and protested at least once every two years, demanding houses,” said Saira Nazir from Mettupalayam, whose husband is a construction worker.
- Airport expansion: 13 landowners get compensation documents TNN | Mar 6, 2019, 04:36 IST
Coimbatore: Municipal administration and rural development minister SP Velumani issued compensation documents to 13 people, who own land marked for acquisition for expansion of the city airport.
They own five plots of land in block VII, which is just one of the 24 blocks marked for land acquisition. They will register their land over to the government on Wednesday and receive cheques soon after, government sources said.
“Out of the 13 landowners, for whom compensation documents were ready, 10 received it from the minister,” said an official in the land acquisition department. “There is a total of 68 landowners in block VII. Compensation documents and cheques for the remaining 55 landowners will be issued in the coming days,” she said.
The state government has allotted Rs 75crore to acquire the land. However, with the election dates expected to be announced any day and the model code of conduct also expected to be in force this week, officials said clearing of documents for the next five blocks, one, three, 11, 12 and 20, is likely to be delayed and will be done only after the election. “We are not allowed to announce when the next three blocks will be cleared because elections are expected to be announced anytime this week,” she added.
The government is acquiring 627 acres of land for expansion of the airport. Almost 90% of the people, whose land have been marked for expansion, have agreed to hand over their land, but the process has been delayed for months, making them restless.
- Swachh Survekshan ranking: Coimbatore slips to 40th spot from 16 Pratiksha Ramkumar | TNN | Updated: Mar 7, 2019, 12:46 IST
COIMBATORE: The city, which bagged the 16th place in Swachh Survekshan ranking last year, fell to the 40th place this year. In the state-wide ranking, it fell behind Trichy, which stood at 39th.
In the last year’s ranking, out of the 425 cities in Tamil Nadu, Coimbatore was selected as the second cleanest.
This time, the city scored 3,412 marks out of 5,000, falling just two points below Trichy. It got 1,169 out of 1,250 marks from judges, who visited the city two months ago to inspect the level of cleanliness and 827 out of 1,250 marks under the citizen’s feedback and the use of Swachhata app. Under service-level progress and certification also, the city only scored 916 and 500 marks out of 1,250 marks respectively.
While officials attributed it to the lack of public participation in the programme, residents and civic activists said that the city corporation failed to improve cleanliness compared to the last year.
The lack of citizen participation in the Swachhata app and citizen dashboard app seems to have brought the city down in the rankings, corporation officials said. Only 3,012 citizens participated in the survey and even fewer expressed ‘user happiness’. Under the app, the city recorded 0.8 in user engagement and zero in user happiness.
“Many citizens do not know the app even exists. Not enough publicity was given about it,” said R Raveendran of Residents Awareness Associations of Coimbatore. “Also, many people, who actively used the app last year, did not see results immediately and stopped using it regularly.”
The rankings take into account not only cleanliness of the streets, but efficiency of door-to-door collection of segregated waste, the extent of segregated waste that is recycled or converted to manure, number of public toilets, the condition and cleanliness of the toilets and the extent of open defecation.
“There is a shortage of personnel and vehicles to do door-to-door collection in the newly-added areas. While the number of public toilets has increased, their maintenance is yet to become regular and upto the standard,” said Raveendran. “I believe the 40th ranking is justified,” he told TOI.
Corporation official in charge of Swachh Bharat progress in the city said Coimbatore lost out a few marks in the service-level because they could achieve only 80% door-to-door segregation. “We also need to have a well-used functioning recycling plant and a system where we regularly sell compost and recycled items. We lost a little over 200 marks. But, in terms of service-level progress and direct observation, we are well within the top 20 cities in the country,” said Thirumaal, the engineer in-charge.
- Over 1.5 lakh property tax defaulters owe Rs 146 crore to Coimbatore corporation
Interestingly, 64.80% of the property tax arrears are with 0.74% of the defaulters and most of them have failed to pay the tax for more than a decade. TNN | March 09, 2019, 16:00 IST
COIMBATORE: A total of 1.53 lakh defaulters owe the city corporation a sum of Rs 146.13 crore as property tax dues.
Interestingly, 64.80% of the property tax arrears are with 0.74% of the defaulters and most of them have failed to pay the tax for more than a decade.
According to the data collected from Coimbatore City Municipal Corporation (CCMC) website, total number of assesses in the city limit is 5.07 lakh. Of the total assesses, property tax is not paid for 1.53 lakh assets which accounts to Rs 146.13 crore. Of the total defaulters, 1,133 defaulters will have to pay Rs 94.69 crore.
In ward number 56, 11 assesses hold account for Rs 6.41 crore of tax arrears which means that on an average a person had to pay Rs 58.35 lakh of arrears. In ward 58, 19 assesses hold account for Rs 5.35 crore of tax arrears which means a defaulter had to pay Rs 28.16 lakh of arrears.
“If only the corporation could concentrate on defaulters who account for huge sum of tax arrears, they could easily collect most of their arrear amount. But instead of focusing on the defaulters who had not paid their property taxes for more than a decade, the corporation only squeezes the ordinary people who pay a few thousand rupees as tax,” K Hakkim, founder of People Awareness Organization, said.
Hakkim said there are defaulters who had not paid their tax since late 1990s and the corporation had initiated no action to retrieve the money.
The top defaulters include Tidel Park which makes crores of rupees, Coimbatore Medical College Hospital (CMCH), ESI Hospitals, reputed private colleges in Peelamedu and famous hotels.
- Four-lane work on stretch of Mettupalayam Road begins Vishnu Swaroop
The stretch of the Mettupalayam Road (NH67) from Perianaickenpalayam to Mathampalayam would soon become congestion free, as the National Highways (NH) has taken up the long-awaited four-lane expansion work in the stretch this week.
| TNN | Mar 15, 2019, 16:25 IST
COIMBATORE: The stretch of the Mettupalayam Road (NH67) from Perianaickenpalayam to Mathampalayam would soon become congestion free, as the National Highways (NH) has taken up the long-awaited four-lane expansion work in the stretch this week.
The work on the 6.1km stretch from Perianaickenpalayam to Mathampalayam for which an agreement was executed last April was delayed because of issues in tree cutting work, said an NH official. Now as the tree cutting work has been cleared and the trees have been cut, the work has started, the official said.
The stretch would include four bridges and five culverts. “Of these, we would reconstruct two bridges and widen two bridges,” said the official. The stretch also comprises a 2km flyover from the Ramakrishna Mission Vidyalaya Industrial Training Institute in Perianaickenpalayam to Samichettipalayam, which would be constructed through a separate tender, said the official.
The work on this stretch would be completed in six months, said the NH official responsible for the work on the stretch. The financial estimate of the 6.1km stretch is Rs 33 crore.