KOLLAM: Kerala Congress (B) chairman R Balakrishna Pillai has called upon the State Government to follow the West Bengal model in allotting Special Economic Zones in the state.

Speaking at a news conference here on Friday, he said the LDF Government could follow the criteria adopted by their West Bengal counterparts in allotting the SEZs. Instead of allotting thousand acre, the state should allot small holdings up to 50 or 100 acres for setting up SEZs, he said.

PALAKKAD: The grama panchayats in various districts of the state which execute afforestation and soil and water conservation schemes in an exemplary manner by including it under the National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme (NREGS) will be given awards, according to Finance Minister Thomas Isaac.

The award money will be announced in the next budget. He was speaking after inaugurating the

THRISSUR: Instead of decentralised arrangements for the treatment and processing of waste by Local Self-help Groups in each district, a centralised processing arrangement for a few districts or for each district was mooted by Thrissur District Collector V K Baby.

He presented the idea at the meeting of Thrissur Mayor, Chairmen and Secretaries of municipalities and concerned officials held at the Collectorate here the other day.

The participants welcomed the idea. The Collector said that the preliminary sorting of the waste should be done at the generating points.

KOCHI: The Ernakulam Sessions Court prohibited the dumping of waste at Padiyath Basin waste collection yard of the Kochi Corporation near the Convent Junction.

The order was issued by Sessions Court Judge D Pappachan on a petition filed by Friends of Environment secretary D B Binu and Mohammedkunj of Noor Masjid.

The petition has pointed out that the Corporation had been dumping the waste in a place which is adjacent to St Teresa's College, St Mary's Church, hospital and Law College.

KOCHI: Here is happy news for the greens. Aiming at creating an awareness in society about the bio-diversity of Mangalavanam, the Department of Forest will set up a Nature Study Centre at the sanctuary.

Students, researchers and nature-lovers can make use of the centre once it becomes operational. "Mangalavanam has a vast mangrove vegetation.

Though many people want to study about them, there is no adequate facility inside the Mangalavanam at present.

IN countries like India where universal access to safe drinking-water at an acceptable level of service has not been achieved, the country's national drinking water policy should refer to "expressed targets for increasing access', according to the World Health Organisation's Guidelines for Drinking Water Safety.

Such policy statements should be consistent with achievement of the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations (UN) Millennium Declaration.

THIRTY minutes load-shedding every day, undeclared power-cuts any time and the looming threat of an increase in the electricity tariff. For Keralites, electricity comes at a heavy price. No wonder many people are looking for alternative power sources that can keep homes welllit without burning the pocket.

CHALAKKUDY: Officials of the Vazhachal Divisional Forest Office seized the skin of a leopard and arrested Arjunan, 37, hailing from Upper Sholayar in Tamil Nadu on Tuesday.

The Vazhachal Range Officer said that following information received by the Ernakulam Flying Squad DFO, an investigation was conducted. During the investigation, it was understood that a person residing at Valpara under the Vazhachal had handed over the skin to Arjunan for sale.

KOLLAM: Based on the Forest Rights Act approved by the Union Government, forest rights committees will be set up in the district on August 3. A meeting chaired by District Collector A.Shajahan has taken a decision in this regard.

The Act envisages to provide rights on the dwelling places of those people, including Scheduled Tribes, in the forest land in which they had been living traditionally.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Projects have been invited from voluntary organisations, schools, colleges, governmental and non-governmental organisations in Kerala and Lakshadeep for the national environment awareness programme organised Union Forest Ministry and Centre for Environment and Development from November 24, 2008, to February 27, 2009. The topic foer the year will be climate change. Applications with necessary documents should reach Executive Director, Centre for Environment and Development, Thozhuvancode, Vattiyurkavu, Thiruvananthapuram-695013, before August 25.