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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  • Police to clear illegal parking space created on roadsides Wilson Thomas
    COIMBATORE, MAY 14, 2018 00:00 IST
    UPDATED: MAY 14, 2018 03:43 IST

    Metal barricades being used to mark parking space on road at R.S. Puram.S. Siva SaravananS_SIVA SARAVANAN We are forced to create parking space for customers, says trader
    With parking space becoming a growing problem, shops and establishments in Coimbatore are doing every efforts to create their ‘own parking space’ in public space.

    This ranges from the practice of keeping bricks, wooden poles and metal footpaths and even employing security guard whose duty is to ensure that vehicles are not parked in front of the shop keeping the space for customers to enter the shop. Otherwise, they resort to these practices to ensure that customers visiting their shop alone get to park their vehicles there, unmindful of the fact that it is a public space.

    Narrow lanes

    By and large, lack of parking space is a problem faced in every part of the city. The issue is worse in narrow lanes in and around Town Hall, Variety Hall Road, Oppanakkara Street, Sukrawarpet and even R.S. Puram, which is regarded as the well-planned locality in the city.

    With majority of the old buildings and even new ones lacking parking space, parts of the road are occupied by vehicles parked in front of offices, shops and establishments. Some of the shops have placed their own barricades in front of the building to create their own parking area.

    A wholesale dealer from Variety Hall Road said that they are forced to create the parking space for customers on the side of road as the old buildings do not have provision for parking.

    Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Sujit Kumar said that the practice of shops and establishments placing their own barricades occupying motorable space on the road will be addressed immediately.

    “We have noted the use of iron platforms that are placed to create way into shops and other establishments. Though this can be tolerated to an extend, no shops or establishments have the right to create their own parking space on the road. We have planned to conduct weekly special drives to clear such barricades placed illegally on the road. If a shop is found repeating the practice, the barricades will be seized,” said Mr. Kuamr.

    He said that shops and establishments should cooperate in sharing the available parking space on the side of roads, especially in places where one side parking has been implemented.

    One side parking is currently followed in places like Cross Cut Road, D.B. Road, Raja Street, Range Gowder Street and part of NSR Road, he added.

  • Old residential areas turning commercial spots also feel the heat STAFF REPORTER
    COIMBATORE, MAY 14, 2018 00:00 IST
    UPDATED: MAY 14, 2018 03:43 IST

    Some of the old residential areas now turned into busy commercial spots also reel under lack of parking space. Areas like Ram Nagar, P.N. Palayam, Avarampalayam and Tiruchi Road have become busy commercial areas where parking of vehicles is a concern.

    Several shops, warehouses, boutiques, salons and restaurants located in these places are mostly functioning in old buildings and houses that are refurbished. However, these buildings too lack parking space.

    In Ram Nagar, which has already become a semi-commercial area, most of the old roads are narrow which are further narrowed due to illegal parking. Customers visiting some of the restaurants in the area are forced to park their cars on the sides of the road as their compounds barely have space to accommodate even two-wheelers. Though No Parking boards are erected on some of the roads, the rule is often violated.

    With more commercial establishments coming up in such places, the issue is expected to become worse. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Sujit Kumar said that the police are taking measures to address the issue within its powers.

    He said that the no objection certificate from the police for new establishments like marriage hall, theatre, restaurants, hotels, etc., are issued only after verifying the parking space available.

    “While permit for the building is issued by other bodies, the NOC from the police is issued after proper inspection of such places. There were instances wherein we denied NOC due to lack of adequate parking space,” said Mr. Kumar.

    According to K. Kathirmathiyon of Coimbatore Consumer Cause, police should identify areas affected by illegal parking and declare them as no parking zone using its power. “It is the duty of the owner of the shop or establishment to provide the parking space for customers. Police should take stringent action against violators,” said Mr. Kathirmathiyon.

  • Residential building on road may be pulled down tnn | May 16, 2018, 00:43 IST

    Coimbatore: If everything goes well, an illegal residential building on a road at Krishna Colony at Singanallur in the city will be demolished soon.

    Flouting all norms, the city corporation’s town planning wing had earlier approved its construction on a land that was earmarked as open reserve site and road.

    The 2,796sqft land at Krishna Colony, which falls in the civic body’s east zone, was part of a 30ft road in the department of town and country planning (DTCP) approved layout. In October 2016, one D Robinson Selvam applied for a building approval on the land, knowing very well that it was earmarked as road.

    The layout, owned by the national workers house building and benefit society, was approved by DTCP in 1977. Subsequently, 131 plots were earmarked and sold on the 13.4 acre land. In 1981, it was revised, and they created 12 other plots on the land earmarked for parks and playgrounds. In total, 1.62 acre was earmarked as open space reservation (OSR). Of that only 24 cent is available now.

    Activist S P Thiyagarajan, who have all the documents relating to the transaction, said, “The buyer has mentioned several layout plan designs and documents that clearly state that it was a road. So, there is no doubt that he was unaware about it. Also, he owns two other plots, number 63 and 64, near the road and OSR plot. But he never mentioned these plots when he got the approval for the road,” he said.

    On November 25, 2016, former town planning officer, Sasipriya, and the city corporation commissioner, K VIijayakarthikeyan, had approved the documents. Thiyagarajan added that the owner had even applied for a loan of 75 lakh in Karur Vysya bank on Oppanakara Street for New Raj Traders and PMP Traders.

    “We showed the layout design documents to the civic body’s town planning wing and officials there have confirmed that it was a fake plan. The approval accorded in 2016 was based on forged documents. The corporation should ideally file a criminal complaint and take legal action against the owner, besides reclaiming the land,” Thiyagarajan said.

    The town planning wing officials told TOI that they had visited the site and prepared a report. “We will take action and demolish the building soon,” said an official, who did not want to be named.

    Thiyagarajan said this was not the first time that forged documents were provided. “The corporation needs to cross-check documents before according approval. But most times, they are lured by money. Also, the licensed building surveyors forge documents that are given to the local planning authority and the corporation. The civic body should also take action against the licensed building surveyors, who surveyed the plot,” he said.

    Activists said this wasn’t an odd case. There are nearly 50 other encroachments that the civic body had failed to take a look. “150 such encroachments have been assessed by the Town planning wing officials and we have brought forward another 50 such cases. The corporation never acts on them,” said Thiyagarajan.


  • Plan to double urban green space TNN | Updated: May 15, 2018, 17:21 IST

    The city corporation plans to double the existing per capita urban green space under the smart city project. By developing parks and green spaces around the city lakes, the local body plans to add another 404 hectares of urban space to the city which will make the urban green space 4.3sqm per person.

    Experts said most of the green space in Coimbatore is its agricultural land, which accounts for 70% of the land use. Its actual urban space and recreational space is only 403 hectares. "The agricultural land is privately owned and it can be converted into real estate or for other purposes. So, these are not considered as urban green space," said a local planning authority official.

    "Under the smart city project, an urban biodiversity park at Singanallur lake, a nature centre near Ukkadam lake and a wetland centre at TNAU will be set up. We have incorporated designs around each lake such that it will provide spaces for people to sit and enjoy the lake front. Nearly 5,000 acres of land owned by TNAU will be designated as agricultural park so that it cannot be converted or get encroached," said a smart city consultant for Coimbatore corporation. The consultant added that they will plant 8,000 trees around the eight city lakes to increase the green cover that will allow 1,200 tonnes of carbon di oxide sequestration (remove it from atmosphere).

    Environmentalists said the imbalance between urban buildings and natural spaces is posing a huge climate change risk. The urban heat island effect in which the temperatures in the urban areas go up due to increase in density of population and concrete structures will diminish the quality of living in cities. "Technical data and scientific awareness is required to improve green cover," said an environmentalist.

    Officials said the government is also coming up with policies to promote terrace gardening, development of residential gardens and also take steps to decrease concretisation of roads, pavements and urban spaces.

  • How green is my city TNN | Updated: May 15, 2018, 17:20 IST
    City residents have only one fourth of the ideal urban green space. Though this is much higher than many cities in the country, including Chennai, Mumbai, Pune and Mysuru, Coimbatore has a meagre 403 hectares of urban green space as per the revised master plan recently submitted to the government.

    In terms of population, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation is that each person is entitled to 9sqm of open green space area. Coimbatore has only 2.17sqm per person if one goes by the current population of 18.50 lakh, as given by the city corporation. Officials said that the city’s population is growing at a rate of 2.6% per annum.

    However, as per the town and country planning organisation of the ministry of urban development, government of India, the city’s urban green space that accounts for just 0.14% of the total land area should ideally be a minimum 10%.

    According to the data available with the ministry of urban development, Coimbatore is better off when compared to several cities such as Chennai, which has only 0.81 sqm per capita urban space, Mumbai with 1.1sqm, Pune with 1.4sqm and Mysuru with 0.98sqm. "The urban space or recreational space is calculated based on the master plan submitted by the respective local bodies to their government. And this per capita space also depends on the population growth of the city," said a member of the local planning authority who added that an ideal urban green space included parks, gardens, playgrounds and any other open space that could be accessed and used by the public.

    Kiran Rajashekariah, who submitted a report in 2011 for WWF-India on the impact of urbanisation on biodiversity, said, "The urban agglomeration of Coimbatore expanded from 38 sqkm in 1973 to 274 sqkm in 2010, registering over five-fold growth in less than four decades. In the past six years alone, the growth has been 102%." He said that ideally for sustainable living and psychological health, urban space is very important. "Various factors have gone into finalising this 9sqm. But rapid urbanisation is reducing the per capita space. We need to focus as it will affect the ecology, natural resources, biodiversity, apart from just quality of life," said Kiran.

    Experts said lack of space was not a concern in Coimbatore. Coimbatore has around 38,18,336.415sqm of park space in a total of 1409 reserve sites, as per the survey by the assistant town planning officers in the corporation. "But only a handful have been developed into parks and most of them get encroached. Though the civic body claims it is removing these encroachments, very little funds are spent on maintenance and setting up of parks," said an official. Experts said the main problem why cities have not been able to maintain their urban spaces is the opportunity cost of land, which is very high, and the high return on investment in urban areas. Another problem with Coimbatore is that its first master plan was prepared by the LPA in 1994 and it was proposed to be revised in 2007, but is yet to be finalised. "This revised plan has been submitted to the state government and only if it is finalised can projects be planned, as land use plays an important role in development," said a member of the local planning authority

    S Bhaskar, trustee of Initiatives of Change Centre for governance, a non-profit organisation, said, "It is a known fact that we do not have public space apart from VOC park and a few other parks in the city. Even around the lakes there is not much green space. Some of the institutions such as Forest college and TNAU provide some lung space but they are not included in the open space area as the public cannot use them."

    As per the Urban Greening Guidelines released by the MoUD in 2014, the focus was on integrating urban greens in the overall planning and development scenario.

  • Sluice gates cry for attention On the night of May 11, the water level in the Selvachinthamani lake was barely one feet below its capacity. As the threat of overflowing loomed large, the authorities decided to open the sluice gates and release water into the channels. That’s when the officials realised the urgent need to maintain sluice gates and remove silt and bushes in the channels. As the public started to gather on the streets, despite pounding rain, fearing flooding in residential localities, officials pressed in earthmovers and cleared the channels, allowing water to flow.

    The sluice gates of many lakes and outlet channels in the city are ill maintained. Activists demand the civic body form an exclusive wing to maintain water bodies.

    Coimbatore corporation has been maintaining eight tanks, including Muthannankulam, Selvachinthamani, Ukkadam Periyakulam and Valankulam, besides the canals that connect the eight tanks. On May 11, the water level in the Selvachinthamani tank reached the maximum level and the corporation officials failed to open the sluice gates immediately. Tension prevailed in the area and the people living near the tank were in a state of panic. The city police had to rush to the spot to pacify the public. Later, corporation officials opened the sluice gates and the water reached Ukkadam Periyakulam.

    “Water has touched the maximum level at Selvachinthamani Kulam and it has three sluice gates which are not maintained properly by the corporation. People dump garbage and other waste into the canal all the way from Selvachinthamani Kulam to Ukkadam Periyakulam, with the result that water stagnates in the canal. If the rain continues for a week, the Selvachinthamani Kulam could breach. The corporation should immediately strengthen the sluice gate of the tank and clean the canals from the Ukkadam Periyakulam,” said R Manikandan, Kovai Kulangal Padhukappu Amaippu.

    He added that Ukkadam Periyakulam too has only one sluice gate, that too in a bad condition, located opposite the Ukkadam town bus stand. “One such gate is not enough to release the water if the tank overflows during heavy rain. Two sluice gates in the tank were closed by the PWD and the corporation. There are a lot of encroachments in the canals to Valankulam, which the corporation should remove immediately,” said Manikandan.

    Valankulam does not have a sluice gate to release water; it has two pipelines, which is not enough. The corporation should fix sluice gates in Valankulam.

    “Muthannankulam on Thadagam Road is overflowing for the past three days. But the four sluice gates were not opened to release the water. The main keys to open the sluice gates are with few fishermen. Fish from the tank would go to other tanks if they open the sluice gates,” said an activist.

    When contacted, corporation officials said they would clear the garbage in the canals soon.

    “The corporation should form an exclusive wing to maintain the eight lakes and the canals linking these. It should allot sufficient funds under the smart city projects to clean and desilt the canals and tanks,” said Manikandan.

    Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/coimbatore/sluice-gates-cry-for-attention/articleshow/64182545.cms
  • Tirupur trade bodies want curbs on heavy vehicles lifted Rajasekaran RK| TNN | Updated: May 18, 2018, 00:28 IST
    Tirupur: Members of trade bodies in the city petitioned the police on Wednesday to remove restriction on movement of heavy vehicles during peak hours — 8am to 11am and 4pm and 8pm. However, the police department said allowing of the heavy vehicles would result in more traffic congestion and accidents.

    “The goods from knitwear cluster should be transported to different units as a part of the manufacturing processes. The garment factories are located inside the city while the processing units like dyeing are on outskirts,” said S Nagarajan, president of Dyers Association of Tirupur, one of nine trade bodies that gave the petition.

    “Being exporting units, many companies have to make deliveries on schedule to retain foreign buyers. The problem is that units do not have cushion period to stretch the production, and any delay will affect the production planning and control,” said general secretary of Tirupur exporters’ association TR Vijayakumar.

    “If the police allow the vehicles with load carrying capacity of up to six tonnes, it will help the industry. Such relaxation was in place, informally, about three years ago,” Nagarajan added.

    A higher police official told TOI that, “The banning of movement of medium and heavy vehicles during peak hours is followed across the country. The restriction was made considering different people would have needs. Moreover, it would not be possible to segregate the vehicles which belonged to the knitwear cluster and others.”

  • DVAC sleuths arrest land surveyor while taking bribe TNN | May 18, 2018, 00:35 IST

    Coimbatore: A land surveyor from Sulur Taluk office was arrested on Thursday while accepting a bribe of Rs 20,000 from a farmer for issuing independent patta to him.

    Manthiramoorthy of Malaipalayam near Senjerimalai had approached the 56-year-old Kathiresan, land surveyor for Varapatti village for his 2.5 acre land. He asked the land surveyor to issue an independent one from the joint patta for which Kathiresan demanded a bribe of Rs 30,000.

    Manthiramoorthy initially gave Rs 10,000 to Kathiresan. But, later he complained to Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) officials, who planned to the trap Kathiresan.

    Manthiramoorthy gave Rs 20,000 to the DVAC officials, who laced the currency notes with phenolphthalein chemical powder and told him to give that to the land surveyor.

    On Thursday, the farmer went to Sulur Taluk office to give the remaining amount to the land surveyor.

    The DVAC sleuths, who were present in plain clothes, caught Kathiresan red-handed while accepting the bribe from the farmer.

    Immediately, the phenolphthalein test was conducted on the spot and the result for positive. Hence, the DVAC sleuths arrested Kathiresan and remanded him in judicial custody. Further investigation is on.


  • Newly-laid road caves in at Podanur after pipeline leakage tnn | Updated: May 19, 2018, 01:08 IST
    Coimbatore: A newly-laid road has caved in at Podanur in the city on Friday. The road laid by the state highways department a month ago has caved in after a water pipeline began leaking in the area.

    An official from the highways department said, “The 1.5km-road was laid recently under the flyover project estimated at Rs 24 crore. But on Wednesday, the residents complained of the road caving in and water pipeline leaking in the area. We immediately informed the city corporation officials, who inspected the area. Once after they fix the pipeline leakage, we will re-lay the road.”

    The official said that the civic body was asked to check for all pipeline leakages before laying the road. “Only after they gave a clearance, we laid the road. But either during the road laying process or due to some other water pressure, the pipeline has been broken,” said an official.

    The civic body engineer said that he has visited the spot and will repair the leakage soon. “Within a day or two, the pipeline leakage will be fixed,” said an engineer.

    The highways project meanwhile is nearing completion and will be inaugurated in June.

    J Daniel, a civic activist who lives close-by, said most of the water pipelines of the civic body have been leaking for the past few months. “The roads are also not laid properly. We have complained to the officials several times,” he said. He added that a lorry had got stuck in that road a day ago, causing traffic congestion.

    Architects called for a better management of utilities by taking them to the road sides so that road engineering is not affected, and repair work will not consume much money. “If all the utilities are taken to the road sides, the entire process will become not just cost effective but less time consuming,” said an architect.


  • Nilgiris recalls its massive run to save environment, ecology tnn | Updated: May 19, 2018, 01:16 IST
    Udhagamandalam: Nilgiris remembered the run that heralded eco-movement in the hill district. Three decades ago, an awareness run for more than 10km from the town was meant to rouse the public opinion to the fast degrading environment and ecology of the Nilgiris. The Save Nilgiris Run, participated by over 5,000 volunteers and organised by the Save Nilgiris Campaign (SNC) from the Hindustan Photo Films gate to the HADP ground in Ooty on May 18, 1988, was considered as first of its kind in the country then.

    “They were all there. Men and women, young and aged, rich and poor. More than 5,000 of them. Most of them had come in groups - Anglo Indian Association, Magalir Mandram, bank staff, village youth clubs, public schools, government schools, industrial schools, college students, sports clubs, chamber of commerce, hoteliers association and even cine stars fan clubs,” recalled C Krishnan, who took part in the run 30 years ago. He added, “That was the starting of eco-movement in the Nilgiris.”

    “Each group carried its own banner, placard with ‘save Nilgiris’ message. They had come from all parts of the Nilgiris. A strong contingent of 50 boys and girls had also come from the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore. The runners were provided with T-shirts with the message of save Nilgiris,” said Dharmalingam Venugopal, who had organised the run under the banner SNC.

    “The run almost came to be scrapped at the last moment when a Tamil extremist outfit threw a country bomb inside the Government Botanical Garden (GBG), close to the venue of the meeting. However, then governor P C Alexander, who was to address the runners and who was staying at the Raj Bhavan inside the GBG, told the organisers that the run must go on,” recalled Venugopal.

    SNC presented an appeal to the governor on behalf of the children of the mountains to save the Nilgiris from degradation.

    Alexander, while conceding that the damage to the Nilgiris’ environment and ecology was of a serious nature, felt that the Nilgiris could still be saved. The governor sought the cooperation of the public and the tourists and concluded his speech by saying, “Nilgiris should be saved and Nilgiris will be saved.”

    Stating that Nilgiri is a source of economic prosperity of the plains of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, Sunderlal Bahuguna, the leader of the Chipko Movement, who was then undergoing treatment in Coimbatore said in a message to the runners, “I hope the hill people will become a source of inspiration to all those who are striving to re-establish the long lost harmonious relationship between man and nature.”

    And the eco-movement still continues in the Nilgiris.


  • Govt sanctions Rs 6 crore to renovate Avinashi Road flyover tnn | May 19, 2018, 01:07 IST

    Coimbatore: The national highways department will soon demolish the decrepit parapet walls of the Avinashi Road flyover and reconstruct them.

    Constructed in 1975, the 43-year-old dilapidated flyover has cracked walls, trees growing out of its walls and broken parapet walls.

    A senior official from the national highways department said that they have got an approval to demolish the existing parapet walls and construct new ones. They will also re-lay the roads on the flyover. “We have already issued the work order. The project is estimated at Rs 6 crore. The contractors will begin the work in a month’s time,” he said. The official added that they were aware of the poor condition of the flyover. “We had been sending proposals for nearly a decade seeking funds to renovate it,” he added.

    The department had sent a proposal earlier for Rs15 crore to renovate, repair and extend a portion of the flyover.

    “In 2015, the report was submitted to extend the flyover and construct another ramp from the NH office connecting the flyover to ease traffic congestion on Brookebond Road and Mill Road. But that proposal was rejected,” the official said.

    Currently, the department has got an approval to set up hand railings, construct new parapet walls, and replace all joints with strip seal. “We have also decided to use epoxy coating to ensure bonding between old and new concrete to plaster in places where concrete has chipped off,” he added.

    Secretary of Coimbatore Consumer Cause K Kathirmathiyon said it is not just the construction part that needs to be renovated.

    “There are no reflective stickers or caution boards. Two wheelers and four-wheelers often dash against the parapet wall in the centre of the flyover. There should be caution boards 100m ahead of the diversion. Many vehicles have even fallen from the flyover, earlier. So, the highways department needs to take steps to use reflector paints and stickers. Also, adequate lighting needs to be provided,” he said.

    Calling it a tragedy in the making, activists said the government should extend the flyover and renovate the existing portion.

    “The design itself is flawed but the department should ensure that old flyovers are inspected regularly,” said a city-based activist.

    Officials said such concrete flyovers have a minimum life of 75 years. “There is nothing to worry. We will just reconstruct the parapet walls and the roads for now,” said an official.

  • CM EPS lays stone for Rs 1,850-crore Kundah hydel project TNN | Updated: May 19, 2018, 14:48 IST
    CM Edappadi K Palanisamy(File Photo)

    UDHAGAMANDALAM: Chief minister Edappadi K Palanisamyon Friday laid the foundation for the Kundah Pumped Storage Hydro-Electric Project (4x125MW), which would come up at Kattukuppai in Nanajanad village in the Nilgiris.

    This is a pumped storage hydro-electric project, a first of its kind in the Nilgiris, unlike conventional hydro projects. The surplus energy available during off-peak time is to be utilised for pumping water from the lower reservoir to the upper reservoir and the water will be utilised for power generation during peak time. The project is estimated to cost Rs 1,850 crore.

    Under the project, Tangedco’s Porthimund and Avalanche-Emerald reservoirs in the district would be utilised as the upper and lower reservoirs respectively, according to Gunanan, executive engineer, Tangedco. He said, “An underground power house is proposed to house four units of 125MW each, which can be reached by means of an underground tunnel. There is no use of surface area in this project and it is totally eco-friendly.”

    Pumped storage hydro-electric project was first installed in Tamil Nadu at Kadamparai in 1984.

    And the Kundha pumped storage hydro-electric project is the second of its kind in Tamil Nadu. Porthimund and Avalanche-Emerald reservoirs in the Nilgiris were established in 1965.

    “In conventional method, power is generated from particles of running water. In pumped storage hydro-electric system, power is generated from the upper reservoir while there is demand for supply. While there is surplus power in the grid, water is pumped up to the upper reservoir,” Gunanan said, adding, “The available structures in the Nilgiris is utilised for power generation.” Funded majorly by Rural Electrification Corporation (REC), the project is likely to be completed by 2022. “With 500MW capacity, the project could generate 1095 million units of power in addition in a month,” the official said.
    While Rs 1,460 is funded by REC, the balance will be borne by Tangedco. “Within 6-8 years the cost of establishment could be recovered,” the official said.


  • Hundreds of fish die as sewage water from Noyyal river ‘pollutes’ Sulur lake tnn | Updated: May 20, 2018, 00:55 IST

    Coimbatore: Fishermen from Sulur were in for a shock on Saturday when they went to Periyakulam Lake to find out the cause of stench in the area - what welcomed them was the sight of several hundreds of dead fish floating in the water body.

    They said while this was a regular happening, what took them aback was the sheer number of dead fish found in the lake on Saturday. The fishermen suspect the cause to be inflow of sewage water into the lake, which depends on Noyyal River for water.

    “Our fishermen usually store rainwater in the lake and release fishlings of Katla, Rohu, Mrigal and Kannadi Kendai varieties to rear them in the lake. When it rains, the rainwater would fill the lake or else it gets filled by sewage-mixed water from the Noyyal,” said S A Arumugam, president, Sulur Fishermen Cooperative Society.

    Pointing out that farmers in the region had been drawing water from the lake by opening the sluices without their knowledge, he further said, “This has forced us to depend on the water from Noyyal to fill the lake. Since the river water is mixed with sewage, fish have been dying regularly,” he said.

    According to Arumugam, they released the last batch of fish in the lake six months ago. “We were waiting to harvest the fish this month, but they have almost been wiped out,” he further said.

    However, S R Thangavel, president of Sulur Neervalam Payanpaduthuvor Sangam, a farmer’s association in the area, said they had been drawing water from the lake for the past three years with the due permission from the Public Works Department officials.

    “We had stopped drawing water from the lake for the past one month. So, there must be some other reason for the incident. The recent rain would have diluted the sewage in the lake,” he added.

    When contacted, fisheries department officials said while water bodies were mainly meant for irrigation, the fishermen’s cooperative has been given permission to harvest fish from it. An official said if members of the fishermen’s cooperative bring the issue to their notice, they would intervene and resolve it.

  • L&T to set up Rs 500 crore facility to make rocket motors for ISRO TNN | Updated: May 20, 2018, 10:48 IST

    J D Patil (left), director, defence, L&T, meets DRDO chairman S Christopher (right) in Coimbatore on Saturday

    COIMBATORE: Larsen and Toubro (L&T) is all set to expand its defence component manufacturing facility in the district and set up an exclusive factory on its Malumichampatticampus at a cost of Rs 500 crore to manufacture rocket motors for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

    J D Patil, director, defence, L&T, said the factory would be ready within this financial year. “We have produced motors for Akash, which is an all-weather medium range surface-to-air missile system indigenously developed in India. Now, we plan to set up this factory to exclusively manufacture for ISRO. Their rocket motors are different from Akash, as the diameter is 2.8m and 3.2m and are massive. We will produce at least 10-12 sets a year which equals to nearly 50 sections of the motors,” he said.

    According to Patil, the industry and the ecosystem here were good enough to produce precision equipment. “Earlier, we were only able to produce at our facility at Powai near Pune that was set up in 1940. Slowly, that entire unit will be shifted to Coimbatore. Even various orders from Baroda facility will be shifted to the district. We are going to take the number of factories to five here,” he said.

    Patil said they would manufacture various components of satellites such as heat shields and other components that form the basic structural part of a satellite. “Currently, we are manufacturing these components in Baroda and we will shift all this to Coimbatore,” he added.

    L&T would also produce space air frames for Brahmos Missile.

    S Christopher, chairman, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said they were working on unmanned aircraft project and various other missile programmes. About their association with ISRO, he said they were working together on a project named Kautilya. “We are also using the profit from the Brahmos programme to run an extended range programme,” he said.

    About their production, he said, they had so far catered to the requirements of Air Force. “Army also has further requirement of Akash, however in 0.5 version. DRDO has already taken up the development. All these will be taken up from 2021 onwards. This product will have orders in another 3-4 years. The facility at Coimbatore will support us,” Christopher said.

    After the central government’s Make in India drive to ‘Indianis’e all products, he said, the growth had gone up in the past 50 years by 60%. “Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are localised facilities and not integrated facilities. Corridors will help various individual MSMEs with their special expertise. Defence wants precision products and quality is very important. They can help in producing small fabrications and various components that can be integrated. Also, the government needs to invest to set up integrated defence manufacturing facilities,” Christopher said.


  • Get ready to pedal wooden bicycle made in the city tnn | Updated: May 21, 2018, 00:31 IST
    Coimbatore: There is no doubt that necessity is the mother of invention! Otherwise, this city-based interior designer wouldn’t have come up with wooden bicycles.

    Last year, when P K Murugesan, 33, searched for a new frame for his bicycle that was damaged during transit, he couldn’t find one. This led him to design a frame for his bicycle using engineered wood or plywood.

    In the process, he decided to modify his bicycle completely using wood, except for the crucial parts such as the handle bar and the seat. “I started it as an experiment. Also, as I had interest in environmental issues, I thought making a wooden bicycle would attract people’s attention (to bicycles), as they are one of the most important ways to tackle vehicular emissions, which account for a significant portion of global emissions,” Murugesan, who has been a cyclist for 10 years now, says.

    As he expected, when Murugesan took his wooden bicycle out for a ride, it grabbed people’s attention. “People started stopping me on road and asking me about the cycle. Many wanted one made for them,” he says. This and the traction it received on social media, gave Murugesan the idea of starting a firm to make wooden bicycles.

    It took Murugesan around 15 days to sketch the design and fabricate the first wooden bicycle. “It cost me around Rs 25,000 to make the first one. But I am planning to improve the design, which would bring down the cost to Rs 18,000,” Murugesan says and adds though he has got several inquiries so far, his plan was to make a batch of 10 bicycles first. He also has plans to register his design and start a firm.

    In the first wooden bicycle he made, Murugesan says he has used the tyres of city terrain bikes, which are suitable to ride only on paved surfaces. “In the forthcoming design, I am planning to use multi-terrain bike tyres which would be suitable for long rides too. I am also planning to incorporate a seven-gear assembly, an adjustable seat and a quick release front wheel,” he says.

    Except for the parts such as the tyres, wheel rims, handle bar, seat, gear assembly, front fork and crank assembly, which he would purchase and assemble, Murugesan says the entire body of the cycle would be made with wood. “The cycle now weighs more than 30kg. I am planning to use a hollow frame rather than a solid one to bring down the weight to around 15kg. Also, I am planning to engrave the name of the buyer on the wooden frame,” Murugesan says.

    While wooden bicycles are already present in some European countries, their cost in India starts from Rs 1.5 lakh. Murugesan says he believes his innovation would be an affordable alternative in both the health and the environment fronts.