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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  • Farmers flay NHAI for destroying irrigation pond TNN | Updated: Mar 9, 2018, 01:05 IST
    Tirupur: Farmers from Velampatti area have come out against the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for destroying an irrigation pond on Avinashipalayam-Avinashi Road to construct a toll gate near Palladam.

    NHAI had been conducting work for the Avinashipalayam-Avinashi Road that would connect Salem-Coimbatore and Trichy-Coimbatore national highways at a cost of Rs 167 crore. For constructing a toll gate in Velampatti in North Avinashipalayam panchayat, NHAI authorities filled 70% of the tank with soil, local farmers said.

    “The pond was the main water source for irrigation as well as drinking in Velampatti and surrounding villages. More than 100 acres of agricultural lands were depending on it directly and indirectly. We had desilted it spending Rs 10 lakh and it was receiving water from the Parambikulam-Aliyar project irrigation scheme,” former CPI ward councillor of Thonguttipatti panchayat E Jothi Basu told TOI.

    “It is unfortunate that while there were ways to construct the toll gate without disturbing the irrigation tank, NHAI did not bother about it,” he added.

    K Sathish, a local farmer, requested NHAI not to set up the toll gate on the road as it would affect local farmers. “Hundreds of farmers use the road to transport their produces to the Tirupur farmers’ market. They will be forced to pay toll for transportation vegetables,” he added.

  • 145 residents get notice from HR&CE TNN | Mar 10, 2018, 00:05 IST Tirupur: More than 100 residents from KVR Nagar, Ayyan Nagar and Chella Nagar in the city on Friday submitted a petition to the HR&CE assistant commissioner S V Harshini requesting her not to force them to vacate their houses.

    Recently, the HR&CE board had issued notices to encroachers at KVR Nagar and Mangalam Road areas to vacate the land belonging to the department. According to HR&CE officials, nearly 12 acres belonging to the department have been encroached in these two areas.

    Tirupur south MLA S Gunasekaran accompanied the residents to submit the petition. According to HR& CE sources, Tirupur’s Visveswara Veeraraghava Perumal temple owns 3.75 acres at KVR Nagar and 3.08 acres at Karuvampalayam and its surrounding areas.

    Similarly, 4.31 acres in the same locality near Mangalam Road belonged to Visveswara Visalatchi Amman temple, Nallur. Patta or sale deeds of all the properties are in the name of the respective temples till date, sources said.

    The board has identified more than 145 houses and commercial establishments being encroached on those lands for more than four decades. So, the executive officers of the temples have issued show cause notices to the encroachers.

    “We have identified the encroachers and gave them two choices; they should either vacate the land or should be ready to pay land rentals to the board. But so far, no one including a commercial establishment, which alone had encroached 1.33 acres, was ready to follow it,” said a HR&CE official.

    J Kathirvel, one of the petitioners, said, “All these lands were bought from different parties over the years and the lands’ ownerships were changed to many hands in many cases.”

    “But now, the HR&CE has issued show cause notices claiming that the lands belonged to the board. It is unfair to force us to vacate as we will lose our livelihoods,” he added.

  • Coimbatore corporation to set up kiosks for grievance redressal TNN | Updated: Mar 12, 2018, 13:04 IST
    COIMBATORE: Gone are the days when one had to wait for long hours to get grievances redressed by civic authorities. The city municipal corporation has planned to set up four kiosks in the main office building at Town Hall to redress the grievances at a fast pace.

    Similar kiosks will be set up in other offices of the civic body as well, said a senior official of the corporation.

    “These kiosks will be integrated with the corporation’s grievance redress mobile application. The grievances and complaints registered by the public will be monitored by senior officials at every step,” said an official. The city corporation already has a ‘CCMC digital grievance redress mobile application’. Kiosks will be set up on the same lines.

    “Once we register on the mobile application, the same registration ID can be used at the kiosks. People visiting the corporation offices can log onto the network and register their complaints. These complaints will be forwarded to the officials concerned who will pass it to senior officials if they are not redressed within a stipulated timeline,” said an official.

    The kiosks are ready and the corporation officials will launch it soon. It will be like a tablet or an I-Pad placed on a stand. It will be in two languages to begin with and will have various categories. Once the registration is complete and the complaints are raised, the status will be available on the application.

    “Whenever people submit petitions, the papers could be thrown into dust bins. Nobody can track them. But on this kiosk and app, a central admin portal will be there. The system will map every official involved in the issue. The grievance will be allocated to a particular officer along with timeline. If no action has been taken within the stipulated time, the grievance will go to a senior official. Every official will be accountable,” said an official. Currently, the mobile application works on local server which has been shut due to some issues. “We will migrate to Cloud soon and all these issues will be resolved. Permissions have been sought for this and we are hopeful that once we migrate from local server, all the applications and systems will work better,” said a technical in-charge of the application. Whenever heavy applications run on local server, the bandwidth becomes limited.
    He added that if these kiosks are launched, the Coimbatore Corporation will be one of the first government divisions to move to Cloud and launch such an application.

  • Rs 320cr to acquire land for ring road project TNN | Updated: Mar 14, 2018, 00:23 IST
    Coimbatore: The state government has sanctioned Rs 320 crore to acquire 355.5 acres in 16 villages in the district to construct the 32.43km Western Ring Road. The four-lane road would enable motorists from south-west Coimbatore to reach the northern part without entering the city. Also, tourists from Kerala on the way to Ooty and Mettupalayam will have a hassle-free journey once the road is completed.

    The ring road would start from Sugunapuram near Kuniyamuthur on Coimbatore-Palakkad Road and would reach Narasimmanaickenpalayam through Sundakkamuthur, Perur, Theethipalayam, Madampatti, Pannimadai, Gudalur and Narasimmanaickenpalayam. To implement the project, the state government is planning to acquire 355.6 acres at Kuniyamuthur, Madukkarai, Sundakkamuthur, Perur, Perur Chettipalayam, Vadavalli, Narasimmanaickenpalayam, Gudalur, Pannimadai, Nanjundapuram, Chithiraichavadi West, Kalikkanaickenpalayam, Madampatti, Theethipalayam, Kavundampalayam and Somayampalayam. These 16 villages fall under Madukkarai, Perur and Coimbatore North taluks.

    The state government had allotted Rs 825 crore for the road project last year. Two units, consisting of special tahsildars Raja and Muruganandam, and land surveyors had started survey a month ago. The revenue department will soon issue notification to the land owners to acquire the needed land for the project soon, sources said.

    Collector TN Hariharan conducted a meeting with the revenue department officials and state highways department officials at his camp office at Race Course on Tuesday evening and instructed them to expedite land acquisition.


  • Green light for 3 lake beautification works TNN | Updated: Mar 15, 2018, 00:27 IST
    Coimbatore: The city lakes will finally get a makeover at an estimated cost of Rs 88cr under the smart city project. Three quick win projects that have been sanctioned are the Valankulam promenade, Valankulam under bridge makeover and a promenade at Ukkadam lake.

    The projects are the first to be taken up under the smart city. The state government has already given administrative sanction for them.

    “Once we get the technical sanction, we will call for tenders and begin the work within a month,” city corporation commissioner K Vijayakarthikeyan told TOI.

    The New Delhi-based consultant had envisaged development of parks, a multi-purpose space for skating, dance, aerobics, clay modelling and a skill development centre to improve employment opportunities for the urban poor at a space overlooking the lake under the flyover near Valankulam lake.

    For the promenade at Valankulam, the consultant plans to make it a pedestrian-safe street by introducing pedestrian crossings. The design also aims to create an entrance plaza and spaces for vendors, public conveniences and food kiosks to make it a place for people to enjoy. A visual element, which will be prominent and visible at night from top of the Valankulam Flyover will also be set up.

    At Ukkadam lake, the Perur Byepass Road, which is an important road, will be redesigned for pedestrian safety in such a way that the lake side is visible from the road. Green infrastructure elements will be set up and the promenade will be set up so that people can enjoy the lake-view. The roads leading to the lake will also be designed in such a way that they are connected to the promenade.

    Both the Valankulam and Ukkadam promenades will be non-motorised corridors.

    “We will use natural methods to treat sewage before water is allowed into the lakes. Also, other infrastructure will be set up to dispose garbage and sewage entering the lake so that the water remains clean,” Vijayakarthikeyan added.

  • Metro rail announcement cheers city Mayilvaganan| TNN | Mar 16, 2018, 00:30 IST Coimbatore: Deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam gave a reason for the residents of Coimbatore to cheer in the state budget presented on Thursday, though he only reiterated what chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami announced a few months ago. Giving a go ahead to the much-awaited metro rail project for the city, Panneerselvam announced that a detailed project report would be prepared for the multi-crore initiative.

    The project, once materialises, is expected to decongest traffic on arterial Avinashi Road. Though the state government toyed with various ideas including a mono rail project and bus rapid transport system to offer a workable long-term solution to the traffic problem in Coimbatore, EPS announced during the MGR birth centenary celebrations in Coimbatore on December 3 that feasibility study would be conducted for metro rail. He followed it up with an announcement that tenders have been called for to study the feasibility of the project. OPS said that the study has been initiated and that the DPR would be prepared soon taking the project to the next level.

    “The long-felt need of Coimbatore is the implementation of metro rail project, which we hope will see the light of the day in the forthcoming year. We also expect allocation of funds for acquiring lands for Coimbatore airport expansion project,” said president of the Coimbatore chapter of the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) Vanitha Mohan.

    The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) also welcomed the announcement. “The announcement to initiate a detailed project report (DPR) towards establishment of Coimbatore Metro Rail is a welcome move,” said M Ramesh, chairman of CII Coimbatore zone.

    The industry, as well as residents, also welcomed the other announcements made in the budget speech for Coimbatore. “Establishment of TICEL Bio Park in Coimbatore will attract high-tech biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies to the city. Effort to initiate an integrated urban development project for the city in co-operation with GIZ, Germany is also a welcome step for its planned development,” said Ramesh.

    However, micro and small industries expressed disappointment over the budget stating that there are very few measures to help the small players. President of the Kovai Power Driven Pumps and Spares Manufacturers Association (KOPMA) K Maniraj said that they were demanding a welfare board for pumpset manufacturers for more than a decade.

  • AAI ready to invest 1,500 crore: Airport director TNN | Mar 21, 2018, 00:25 IST
    As the expansion plan is ready to takeoff soon, director of the Coimbatore International Airport R Mahalingam said that the Airport Authority of India (AAI) was ready to invest Rs 1,500 crore to develop the infrastructure of the airport if the land acquisition was completed.

    AAI will start the work immediately and the terminal building will be constructed on the southern side near L&T Bypass Road. Flyers can easily reach the airport from Neelambur as well.

    “If the land is handed over to us, we would start the work immediately and the AAI plans to construct a big terminal building on the southern side. People from L&T Bypass and Neelambur can easily reach the new terminal and the AAI would invest at least Rs 1,000 crore for the terminal building alone. We also plan to construct 20 aero bridges and more than 20 parking bays. It will become one of the biggest airports,” said Mahalingam.

    According to sources, the AAI also plans to lay a 120 feet road for a stretch of 1.5 km to reach the new terminal from Avinashi Road near Hotel Le Meridian.

    Former president of Chinniyampalayam village panchayat N Devarajan, who has been fighting against the state government for more than a decade, told TOI that the state government had planned to demolish more than 600 houses at Chinniyampalayam and surrounding areas in the name of airport expansion.

    “Now the state government has fixed a rate of Rs 1,500 per square feet for residential areas. It has to be increased to Rs 3,000 per sq ft. Similarly, the state government has to increase the compensation rate of Rs 1,200 per sq ft for agricultural land from Rs 900. The government has to allot Rs 4,000 crore for land acquisition for the airport expansion. Then only, the people who are going to lose their houses and agricultural lands can lead a decent life. Otherwise, they cannot even buy a house in Coimbatore,” said Devarajan.

    He also accused the state government of not allowing land registration in the area for the last 15 years. Hence, the land guideline value and market value are remaining the same. One cent of land has touched Rs 12-13 lakh at PLS Nagar and Duraisamy Nagar in Chinniyampalayam. So, the government should provide adequate compensation to land owners.


    Airport expansion: Rs 2,000 crore sought for land acquisition TNN | Updated: Mar 21, 2018, 00:28 IST
    Buoyed up by 90% of owners agreeing to give their land for the Coimbatore International Airport expansion, the district administration has asked the state government to release a fund of Rs 2,000 crore to pay as compensation for the land owners. The administration has shot off a letter to the state government last month seeking the fund.

    In total, 627.89 acres of land, including 137 acres of defence land and 28 acres of poromboke land, would be acquired for the airport expansion.

    The district administration has fixed a price of Rs 1,500 per sq ft for housing land and Rs 900 per sq ft for agriculture land. This would be the highest compensation to be given to the general public by the state government. The authorities have to raze down 634 houses for the land acquisition. Over 90% of the land owners have agreed to accept the compensation and 10% people are fighting against the acquisition.

    The Airport Authority of India (AAI) has been trying to expand the Coimbatore International Airport for more than 10 years. Land acquisition has been a major bottleneck for the district administration to implement the expansion project. The AAI plans to expand runway from 9,500 feet to 12,500 feet. It has demanded the state government to acquire at least 1,000 acres of land. However, residents of Chinniyampalayam and Irugur panchayats were up in arms when the expansion plan was announced a decade ago.

    Two years ago, the district administration decided to acquire 627.89 acres of the land in the eastern side of the airport to expand the runway and terminal buildings.

    A senior officer from the revenue department said: “The Indian Air Force (IAF) has 122 acres of land, army has 5.82 acres and the Indian Navy has 6.38 acres allotted to them in 1944. We promised them to provide 134 acres of land in Kanchipuram district and a proposal was sent to the defence ministry by the special district revenue officer (airport land acquisition) Radhamani. We have 28 acres of poromboke in the eastern side of the airport. We have to acquire 465.89 acres, including agricultural lands and house sites, from 4,399 people.”

    He said the state government may provide more than Rs 2,000 crore as compensation for the land acquisition. Land owners will get decent compensation from the state government, he added.

    According to the revenue department, around 90% of land owners have agreed to give their lands for the airport expansion. “We are trying to convince the rest 10% to accept the compensation. But some of them are instigating others not to handover their lands to the government. We hope that the land acquisition process will be over in April-end. Then only the state government will sanction the compensation fund of more than Rs 2,000 crore,” the officer said.


  • Corpn loses Rs 5cr every year as its shops lie vacant TNN | Mar 21, 2018, 00:22 IST
    Coimbatore: Only 10 people attended the auction conducted by the city corporation for leasing out 70 of its commercial shops across the city on Tuesday. While only two shops were selected, even corporation officials were not certain if the bidders will finalise the deal.

    High rent and bad locations coupled with nexus between politicians and officials have resulted in the corporation losing out more than Rs 5cr consecutively in the last two years. In 2015, the civic body had put up 2,669 shops for auction targeting Rs 1,300cr. But, it managed to collect only Rs 764cr. In 2016, for the 2,677 shops, the revenue earned was Rs 788cr, while the target was Rs 1,337cr.

    Most of these shops were constructed between 2014 and 2015. “In 2014, several reserve sites in the corporation were encroached and many anti-social elements had taken over the sites. So, we decided to convert them into commercial places and earn revenue,” said an official. RTI replies revealed that during 2014-2015, a resolution was passed by the corporation to build 240 shops in 25 locations for Rs 8cr.

    RTI activist SP Thiyagarajan said that on V K Road, two shops were set up in 2015. “But, they have lied vacant ever since. Similarly, several shops in central, east and south zone lay vacant. It is not just about the revenue. All these shops have been constructed flouting norms. The corporation did not get DTCP approvals for any of the constructions. They have not provided facilities such as parking, toilets and generators. Also, many of these shops have been set up on revenue land and in lands earmarked for other purposes,” he said.

    Another civic activist, Manoj Arun, said that the corporation has been continuously setting up new shops despite suffering revenue loss. “Many shops, such as the ones near Puliyakulam, Shastri Maidhan and Masakalipalayam, are vacant from the day they were inaugurated,” he said.

    Meanwhile, corporation officials blamed the high rent fixed by the public works department, which is between Rs 4,500 and Rs 30,000. “The rents were increased as per a government order in 2012 and since then, we have been facing difficulty in leasing out the shops. Not many people are interested in these shops due to the high rent,” a senior official said.

    “Only a few older shops have flouted norms and we are working towards correcting that. We have sent notices to collect the dues from several others,” he added.


  • Effluent treatment plants await reports to increase utilization capacities TNN | Mar 22, 2018, 00:42 IST
    Tirupur: Four common effluent treatment plants (CETP) in the city are awaiting reports from Anna University and Indian Institute of Technology-Madras to increase utilization of their capacities.

    The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) would take into account the evaluation of either of those two pioneer technical institutes on capacities of the CETPs before allowing them to increase the utilization.

    As many as 18 CETPs are functioning to assist more than 350 dyeing units to treat coloured water as part of zero liquid discharge (ZLD) norm in Tirupur district, apart from more than 100 individual effluent treatment plants.

    A TNPCB official said, “The CETPs would have been established to handle the industrial effluents to certain capacities but they would not have installed all the required equipment and ensured infrastructure, to achieve the capacity target, as mentioned in their respective detailed project reports (DPR). It should be known that they have required machineries for primary and secondary treatment processes, and also reject management system. So, it needed the intervention of the technical experts to evaluate their current capacities. Hence, the services of AU and IIT-M became obvious.”

    The CETPs would obtain the evaluation reports from the institutes and submit them to TNPCB, which would further inspect before finalizing the utilization of their capacities.

    Among CETPs, the utilization of the capacities allowed was ranging from 15% to 90%. Arulpuram CETP in Ganapathipalayam and Park CETP in Angeripalayam were the two facilities allowed to operated 90% of their capacities, said the official.

    Four CETPs are waiting for reports from AU and IIT-M, which have completed the evaluation process in respective facilities, and soon, they are likely to submit the same before TNPCB, said the sources.

    Meanwhile, Tirupur MP V Sathyabama has urged the central government to make ZLD norm mandatory in all textile clusters throughout the country.

    The MP met Union environmental minister Harsh Vardhan and emphasized its importance to minimize the impact on the environment. She also underlined that because of the absence of ZLD system in other parts of the country, the dyeing sector in Tirupur textile cluster, which was the first to have the system in place, was suffering without level playing field.

    In a letter submitted to the Union minister, Sathyabama said, “The implementation of 18 CETPs in Tirupur is not only protecting the environment but also provide recycled water for the public. The ZLD system was made possible with contribution of Rs 700 crore interest-free loans/grant from the central and state governments. The industrialists themselves pumped in additional Rs 370 crore to implement the system.”

    “Since the implementation of ZLD is not mandatory in other parts of the country, their processing cost is 15% less what it is at Tirupur. Hence the dyeing sector in the dollar city is affected badly and ‘penalized’ for implementing the CETPs to protect the environment and reduce pollution,” she said.

    In order to create a level playing field in the dyeing sector, the Union government should make the ZLD system mandatory across the country, she mentioned.

  • Coimbatore civic body plans to pocket Rs 45 crore by regularising unapproved plots

    According to corporation’s town planning wing, there are 663 unapproved layouts in the city and 35,000 plots need to be regularizedTNN | March 24, 2018, 18:00 ISTW

    With a proposal to earn Rs 45 crore in the process, the city corporation plans to regularise 35,000 unapproved plots this year, bringing some cheer to the residents. The owners will be able to develop their plotsdespite it meant violating the government rules and norms.

    According to corporation’s town planning wing, there are 663 unapproved layouts in the city and 35,000 plots need to be regularized. An official in the town planning wing said, “After getting approval from the local planning authority (LPA), these plots will be regularised by the corporation. Residents will have to remit a sum of Rs 100 per square metre in the government account as regularisation charges and Rs 500 per sq m to the corporation as development charges.”

    This is as per the government order issued in October, 2017. For a 2,400 square feet plot, Rs 1,11,524 will have to be paid. The corporation will earn nearly Rs 45 crore as additional revenue from this.

    But activists said that this scheme was announced nearly six months ago and that the LPA was yet to speed up the process. “We had submitted our application nearly two months ago. I was told that the corporation officials will come and conduct the survey and give us the details of the amount to be remitted. But we have not received any communication,” said Krishnan, a resident.

    K Kathirmathiyon, an activist, said that only the town and country planning authority has the power to regularise plots. “Only the development charges will come to the corporation in this scheme. Once the regularisation process is completed, the corporation has to provide facilities such as street lights, drains, roads and improve the reserve sites which will only be an additional burden,” he said.

    Activists urged the civic body to be pro-active and enforce the laws. “Instead of this, the corporation should levy penalty on residents constructing without building plan and violate building norms. Illegal and unauthorized constructions can be identified and owners can be penalized which will provide them with income,” said Kathirmathiyon.

  • Only 30% of Coimbatore households are installed with water meters TNN | Updated: Apr 7, 2018, 13:37 IST Representative image

    COIMBATORE: Though it was nearly four decades ago that the first water meters were installed in the city, the city corporation has so far covered only 30% of the households.

    The civic body claims to have provided a total of 2.70 lakh water connections in the old city area that covers 60 wards. Another 1.45 lakh connections were provided to the added areas in the last five years, corporation officials said. But, social activists and residents said that half of the meters are not functional.

    Currently, clerks of the civic body visit the other households and take an average of the quantum of water consumed over a few months and collect nominal charge. “Nobody knows the exact water consumption as it is not metered at all,” said a resident.

    As per the Government of India, the local bodies should meter the water and ensure that waste is reduced to 20%. “But currently, more than 40% of the water is getting leaked, which is a huge revenue loss to the government,” said an official.

    Not a single house in Cheran Maa Nagar — an added area in the city — has water meters, said NR Ravishankar, a resident. “We pay Rs 360 per year as water supply charges,” he said. If the civic body makes it mandatory, the residents would buy the meters themselves and install them, he said. “We are ready to invest in good water meters. But, the civic body needs to have an intent. Instead of them buying low-quality water meters that become dysfunctional within a few weeks, we are ready to spend our money on good quality meters,” he told TOI.

    A senior water supply engineer, however, contested these numbers and said nearly 70% of the city had been provided with water supply connections. “It is true that the water meters do not function. But the meters have been installed in the homes,” he said.

    But, activists said that though the 60 wards in old city have water meters, half of them are non-functional.

    Another engineer said that under the Vadavalli-Kavundampalayam Water Supply Scheme and the Added Areas Water Supply Improvement Scheme, more than eight added-areas will have an improved water supply distribution network and water meters will be installed. “In the city’s core area, under the 24x7 water supply scheme, smart meters will be installed,” said an official.

    The official also added that in the past two years, water meters were installed for every new water connection. “The numbers are definitely higher now,” said an official stating that at least 70% will be covered. Meanwhile, urban experts stressed that more than the metering of water consumption, water leakage has to be metered.
    “That is called non-revenue water. The entire water that is pumped gets leaked and more focus should be on stopping that. We have set up some pilot projects in Ramakrishnapuram tank and also in ward 73 to meter water leakage and water consumption. This will soon be extended to all wards,” said a senior official.

  • Rally demands patta for forest dwellers in Gudalur, Pandalur TNN | Apr 10, 2018, 00:43 IST
    Udhagamandalam: Over 3,000 people from across Gudalur constituency took part in a rally demanding patta (revenue record required to prove legal ownership over a plot) for the forest dwellers in Gudalur and Pandalur taluks in Nilgiri district on Monday.

    The forest dwellers have been demanding patta over three decades, Tamil Nadu Congress committee president S Thirunavukarasu, who led the rally, said. “The government should immediately come forward to resolve the complexity of janmam land act and help the forest dwellers,” he said while speaking at a public meeting later. The government should also take proper measures to curtail man-animal conflict in Gudalur and Pandalur areas, he demanded.

    Earlier, Thirunavukarasu and other Congress functionaries observed a fast as part of a nation-wide protest called by Congress against the amendment made in the SC/ST act.

    In May 2014, bringing to an end one of the longest-fought legal wars in the high court that lasted over two decades, a division bench cancelled ‘patta’ given on the basis of specious documents and upheld denial of ‘patta’ for others, including planters, encroachers and corporate houses in janmam lands in Gudalur region. The case involved a large number of individuals and companies, including the Birla group, enjoying over 20,000 acres of land, demanding ‘ryotwari patta’ claiming that the lands were being cultivated by their predecessors and they were in continuous possession since purchase. Subsequently, they approached the Supreme Court challenging the HC verdict. The case is still pending.


  • Land acquisition for Coimbatore airport again runs into trouble Pointing out that the Airport Authority of India had been using their 22.54 acres of land under lease for decades, PR Jaganathan, a land owner, said the compensation was fixed at Rs 1,500 per sqftTNN | April 09, 2018, 18:00 IST

    COIMBATORE: Land acquisition for the city airport expansion is likely to hit another roadblock with a section of land owners alleging that the district administration was trying to go back on the compensation amount fixed some nine months ago.

    “The government had fixed the rate for both the agricultural land and house sites, but didn’t provide the compensation. Now, the government is planning to revise the rates. It will definitely affect the land acquisition process,” the land owners said and added that they would approach the district administration officials on Monday.

    Pointing out that the Airport Authority of India had been using their 22.54 acres of land under lease for decades, PR Jaganathan, a land owner, said the compensation was fixed at Rs 1,500 per sqft as they had constructed buildings there for flight operations. “We agreed and gave the acceptance letter to the district revenue officer (airport land acquisition). Now, officials say they can treat the land as agriculture land and provide only Rs 900 per sqft,” he said, adding, “We will meet the collector and request him to provide the fixed compensation.”

    Meanwhile, Tamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam has lodged a petition with the collector, demanding a hefty compensation for each coconut tree to be felled for the project. “More than 1,000 coconut trees have be axed for the project. They are our livelihood and we want Rs 50,000 as compensation per tree,” said AK Shanmugam, state vice -resident, Tamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam.

  • Dumping of debris along Valankulam continues Wilson Thomas
    COIMBATORE, APRIL 13, 2018 00:00 IST
    UPDATED: APRIL 13, 2018 03:45 IST

    Private ambulances are parked on the the sides of a link road connecting Tiruchi Road and Sungam-Ukkadam bypass in Coimbatore.S. SIVA SARAVANAN At some places, the tank has been levelled to park vehicles
    Dumping of debris continues on the link road connecting Tiruchi Road and Sungam bypass, encroaching portions of the Valankulam despite the issue having come to the knowledge of authorities.

    It looks like more areas are levelled on the road using debris dumped along the side of the road.

    At some places, the tank levelled by the miscreants is now wide enough to park lorries and other heavy vehicles on the roadside.

    Sanjay Prasad, chief coordinator of Environmentalist Foundation of India, said that the corporation recently removed debris from the place after the issue was taken to its attention. However, dumping continued a few days later.

    R. Manikandan of Kovai Kulangal Paathukaapu Amaipu said that authorities should set an example by identifying the offenders and imposing fine on them so that the practice can be controlled.

    “Though action against the offenders can be taken by authorities namely the Corporation, PWD and the police, there has been lethargic approach. The police seems unaware of various laws for the protection of wetlands under provisions of which offenders can be booked,” said Mr. Manikandan.

    Apart from dumping of construction debris, the tank is also facing threats in the form of littering plastic and other non-biodegradable waste into the water posing risk for various living organisms.

    “We found a coffin dumped in the lake during a cleaning drive conducted recently. Some of the people from the locality told us that coffin was dumped from an ambulance. Liquor bottles are also thrown into the water,” said Mr. Prasad.

    Mr. Manikandan said that sewage from Coimbatore Medical College Hospital is also released into the tank without treating it.

    Corporation Commissioner K. Vijayakarthikeyan said that the civic body is working on a long-term solution to control the menace which will be addressed once the processing plant for construction and demolition waste comes up at Ukkadam.

    He said that tenders have been floated for the development activities at Valankulam and Periyakulam under Smart City Project.

    The places reclaimed by dumping and levelling along the side of Valankulam road had turned to a parking lot for some of the private ambulance operators in the city.

    Those living in the locality allege that private ambulance operators are facilitating the dumping of debris at night as they are able to create parking space by levelling them.

    They shifted the fleet of private ambulances to the road after authorities cleared their parking space in front of Coimbatore Medical College Hospital (CMCH) some years ago.

    Though dead bodies are transported using the free hearse service of the Government, people depend on private ambulance when mortuary vans are unavailable.

    “We are forced to park ambulances here as there is no parking space available near CMCH or on Government Arts College Road. Our vehicles need to be located near hospitals to get some business,” said an ambulance driver who denied allegations of their role in levelling the debris. Apart from private ambulances, a stretch along the side of Sungam – Ukkadam bypass is occupied by trucks (used for cleaning septic tank), operators of which are accused of releasing waste into the lake.

  • Police seize another truck smuggling Noyyal sand TNN | Apr 15, 2018, 00:30 IST
    Coimbatore: A day after city-based social activists blocked a truck carrying smuggled sand from the Noyyal riverbed, Perur police seized another such truck on Saturday.

    Police have arrested the driver, cleaner and a labourer. “We stopped the truck and arrested the men after receiving a tip-off. The seized truck was handed over to the Perur tahsildhar and the men were produced before the executive magistrate,” Perur deputy superintendent of police Velmurugan Arumugham said. In a Facebook post, the DSP has requested residents to inform him about sand smuggling.

    Easy access to the riverbed, support of politicians as well as police and revenue officials have made the Alandurai-Karunya-Madhuvarayapuram-Perur-Thondamuthur belt a hotspot for sand smuggling, activists say. The smugglers have dug up huge pits on the riverbed at Alandurai and neighbouring villages, TOI found on Saturday.

    Sakthivel of NGO Noyyal Nadhi Paadhugaapu Kuzhu said that this has been happening for over two decades. “Unless there is political will and the district administration takes a strong stand, this cannot be stopped,” he said.

    Another activist pointed out that the local police station was just 500m away from the river and it was quite impossible that the officers were ignorant about sand smuggling. “Donkeys and bullock carts are used to transport sand throughout the night when police are on patrol. Even if they miss, whenever we notice, we inform police. However, the officers often do not turn up and even let the drivers escape with the lorry in front of us,” an activist said.

    TOI is in possession of a video showing lorry owners boasting how they do the trade by bribing police officers.

    Meanwhile, police officers at Alandurai, Karunya and Perur police limits said they were extremely short-staffed. “We need evidence to prove the theft. Whenever we go there, their spies inform them after which they hide in the wilderness. We get to see only donkeys, bullock carts. So, we cannot register any case against them. Also, when we seize lorries, it becomes difficult to prove that they were used for selling sand,” said a police officer.

    State deputy secretary of Pattali Makkal Katchi Ashok Srinithi, against whom the city police had filed cases after he stopped a sand-laden lorry on Friday, said that they had already sent samples of the sand for testing.