Kerala Cabinet on Wednesday cancelled the permission granted to MSPL Limited for mining of iron ore from Chakkittapara in Kozhikode district.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told the media after the Cabinet meeting that the Industries Department had put up a note to the Cabinet to cancel the permission granted by the previous (LDF) government.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said here on Wednesday that proposals in the Solar Energy Policy of the government for use of tribal land for solar and other renewable energy projects would not lead t

Panel submits draft policy for agriculture development

The draft agriculture development policy, submitted to the Chief Minister by the drafting committee chaired by K. Krishnankutty on Thursday, proposes that purchase of farmlands should be restricted to farmers and farming purposes only.

Kerala Cabinet on Wednesday decided to oppose declaration of any populated area on the Western Ghats in the State as ecologically sensitive area.

In its response to the report of the High Level Working Group on Western Ghats chaired by K. Kasturirangan, the Cabinet said that Kerala was particular that no settlement area that had been populated for years should be declared as sensitive area on the recommendation of the Group.

Stockholm convention approves non-chemical as well as chemical alternatives

The Conference of Parties to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, meeting in Geneva, approved non-chemical as well as chemical alternatives to endosulfan on Thursday. The non-chemical alternatives were proposed in a significant departure from past practice. The evaluation of non-chemical alternatives, as accepted by the conference, consists of an ecosystem-based approach to pest management as well as technical interventions.

POP review panel recommendation before next CoP

The eighth meeting of the Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP) Review Committee to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants which concluded in Geneva on Friday approved the assessment of 100 chemical alternatives to endosulfan on Thursday. In a significant departure from past practice, the committee also recommended non-chemical alternatives (to endosulfan).

Fresh evidence has emerged about prevalence of endosulfan residues in the groundwater of Kasaragod district and recent use of the pesticide in the area.

A study by P.S. Akhil and C.H. Sujatha of the Department of Chemical Oceanography of Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat) reported that organochlorine insecticides, particularly high concentrations of endosulfan and BHC (hexachlorobenzene), were persisting in the environment. This was despite restrictions on use of BHC, and ban imposed by the High Court and the government on use of endosulfan. The pesticide residues which remained in the soil from earlier application become the source of pollution of water bodies through land runoff, leaching and ultimately contaminate drinking water sources.

The mothers of endosulfan victims of Kasaragod district have temporary withdrawn their agitation; but the struggle continues both at home and against the government.

Assistance for life-long care of disabled, which takes most of their time, is still a trickle though it is far better than some years ago. Availability of treatment has improved over the years in the affected region. Some patients are now getting home based palliative care and physical therapy.

The Kerala Water Resources Department will review the safety aspects of all dams under it.

A conference convened by Minister for Water Resources P. J. Joseph took the decision in view of the overtopping of the Pazhassi Dam early this week. It decided to replace all the shutters of the dam urgently and entrust the work to public sector undertaking Kerala Electrical and Allied Engineering Company. Rs. 7 crore had been sanctioned for the work.

Finance Minister K. M. Mani told the Assembly on Tuesday that law allowing conversion of five per cent of plantations for cultivation of other crops and tourism would be implemented carefully.

“None would be allowed to misuse the law,” the Minister said while replying to the debate on the supplementary demands for grants for the current year. The Opposition had contended that the amendment to the Land Reforms Act, which received the assent of the President recently, would lead to conversion of more than 90000 acres of plantations.