A large group of people living in villages deep inside the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary are set for an occupy stir which will see them forcefully occupy bungalows, buildings and revenue land under the forest department in the district in protest against government delay in implementing the relocation package promised to them long ago.

The villagers, comprising around 2,600 tribal and nontribal families from 110 settlements situated deep within the WWS, had voluntarily expressed their willingness to move out of the forest three years back. The unique project, if implemented, could have added over 1500 acres to the sanctuary, making it one of the largest voluntary relocation programmes in the country.

Expert Committee Never Suggested Gasification Plant For Municipal Waste Treatment

Thiruvananthapuram: The government awarded the contract to set up modular wastetreatment plant at Chalai at a cost of Rs 60 crores to Loro Enviropower by overruling the recommendations of the expert committee headed by RVG Menon Two weeks after TOI pointed out a list of violations in the tender process and cited the dubious history of the company that won the project, Menon told TOI that the project was tweaked.

Ailment Reported For The First Time In State, Claims Life Of 50-Year-Old

The health department is fighting the first outbreak of Lyme disease in the state in human settlements inside the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary. The disease has claimed the life of a 50-yearold woman while four others have been affected so far. All the affected belong to Nambiarkunnu at Chettiyalathur in Noolpuzha panchayat. The disease was confirmed in blood tests conducted at the Manipal Centre for Virus Research this week.

Labourers From NE Could Be Carriers Of Leishmaniasis

Thiruvananthapuram: After a study on domestic migrant labourers revealed that a growing number among them might be carriers of HIV virus, a new fear has emerged that they could be also carriers of Leishmaniasis, also known as Black Fever or Kala Azar, a fever spread by sand fly bite. With the health department confirming that two cases of Leishmaniasis have been identified in the state and both patients have succumbed to the disease, it is suspected that Leishmaniasis, a kind of fever widely reported in northeastern states, has reached Kerala shores through migrant labourers.

Thiruvananthapuram: The report released by the expert committee, constituted by the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) to formulate parameters for inviolate areas around forests, wetlands, catchment areas and perennial rivers, overlooks areas that may have lesser bio-diversity but still possess large ecological significance.

Apart from obvious damaging consequences for already fragile environments, this lacuna could become a loophole to sanction mining and other commercial activities around these areas. Incidentally, the expert committee was constituted in September 2011 to identify areas where mining and other commercial activities would be completely banned.

Kochi: Steps have been taken to provide compensation to endosulfan victims as recommended by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the state government has informed the high court. The government’s submission was in response to a November 28, 2012, directive of the high court.

The state said in an affidavit that it was not against implementing all the recommendations of the NHRC on the compensation issue. The government’s priority has been the health and security of the people, which led to the decision to ban endosulfan, N Nandakumar, secretary of health and family welfare department, said in the affidavit.

Flat Dwellers Left High and Dry As Tankers Set To Go On Strike Today

Kochi: With the proposed tanker strike from Tuesday set to worsen the already irregular water supply in the city and nearby areas, apartments are all set to introduce rationing to reduce consumption. The Ernakulam district drinking water transporters welfare association had called the strike in protest against the decision of Thiruvanniyur and Chottanikkara grama panchayats not to allow tankers to collect water from areas like Thiruvanniyur, Kunnappilly, Vandipetta, Asupathripadi, Kureekkad and Pallath.

Sets Apart 70% Of Land As Open Space

Kochi: With the master plan of the SmartCity project entering the final phase, the project seems to be turning more green. If the first draft proposed 40% open space, Smart-City authorities have asked designers to set apart 70% of the project land for open space in the final plan. According to sources, the SmartCity authorities want the project to be an eco- friendly one. “The project would have received environmental clearance even if 30 to 40% of the project land is open space. But our decision is to provide 70% open space so that the project would be more environmental friendly,” top officials of the project said

35 Dams Constructed Provide Perennial Waterholes For Wild Animals

Thiruvananthapuram: An eco-friendly initiative by the forest department deep inside the forest areas of the state is slowly turning into a perennial waterhole for hundreds of wild animals, this summer. The state forest department, to counter the drought inside the forests, has constructed around 35 check dams across many rivers which originate from the Western Ghats, blocking the flow of the water before letting it flow down into the villages bordering the buffer zones of the Ghats.

KOCHI: The general council of Goshree Islands Development Authority (GIDA) held in Kochi on Tuesday decided to entrust the construction of the Rs 97-crore Chathanad-Moolampilly road with the Kerala State Construction Corporation (KSCC). GIDA had earlier planned to give the project to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation ( DMRC).

The project is expected to ease the movement of vehicles from Vallarpadam to NH 17 at Paravoor.