Thiruvananthapuram: To strengthen the public distribution system, the state government has decided to entirely computerize the food distribution.

The initiative is abiding by the Supreme Court directive and will be implemented with the help of the central government, said food and civil supplies minister Anoop Jacob. A two-day seminar has been organized on January 28 and 29 in Thiruvananthapuram to mobilize expert opinion on the implementation the programme.

WGEEP Had Sought Ban In Eco-Sensitive Zones

Thiruvanathapuram: Green activists in the state have expressed their shock over the government’s response to the recommendations of the Western Ghats Expert Ecology Panel (WGEEP) that seek a ban on mining activities in the ecosensitive zones (ESZ) in Kerala. The government, in its response, said that a complete ban of mining in ESZs would put lakhs of migrant labourers from other states at the receiving end and would create unpredictable and adverse consequences in the industrial, economic, labour and social sectors in the state.

Seeks Dilution Of EIA Norms

Thiruvananthapuram:Efforts are on to undermine Western Ghats Experts Ecology Panel (WGEEP) report suggestions in the state. TOI has learnt that the state government has told the Dr K Kasturirangan review committee that proposed mining regulations in the eco sensitive zones (ESZ) will impact mining activities and there is a need to dilute the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) procedure “in view of the lesser scale and the extent of mining activity” in the state.

To Make Project Meet Global Standards

Kochi: The master plan of SmartCity Kochi will be altered to add more facilities to attract more international IT firms and also to suit the lifestyle of techies from developed countries. SmartCity authorities took this decision at a workshop held to finalize the master plan. The workshop concluded in Dubai on Wednesday. Experts from the UK, USA, Dubai and India recommended the changes considering the suggestions made by the SEZ board, which accorded SEZ status to the project.

Thrissur: Palakkad, one of the major rice producing areas in the state, is staring at the worst drought in recent times. As per a study conducted by the agricultural department, out of the 43,000 hectares of paddy fields in the district, 6,050 hectare have been affected by drought this season.

Palakkad principal agricultural officer G Sudarsanan said, “The report shows, Alathur, Kuzhalmannam, Malampuzha, Nenmara, Chittur and Kollangode blocks have severely been affected. The estimated loss in paddy cultivation due to drought is Rs 24.13 crore this season.”

Kochi: In a major drive against pollution testing centres, the motor vehicles department (MVD) has closed down around 20 such centres in the district for not having valid licences to operate. The MVD has also found that around 80% of the 200-odd centres in the district were issuing fake licences.

Due to laxity of the department in conducting regular checking, the state government had given strict instructions to take action against erring firms. The department had avoided conducting such drives citing staff shortage.

State Accepts Majority Proposals, Rejects Those On Building Code, Dams

Thiruvananthapuram: The state government has accepted a majority of recommendations made by the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel.

This was conveyed to Dr K Kasturirangan committee that visited the state last week. The expert review committee is reviewing the Madhav Gadgilchaired WGEEP report after states, including Kerala, raised several objections to it. Kerala has in principle accepted that there would be no development in water bodies, biodiversity rich areas and sacred groves. It would also conserve wetlands in accordance with the Wet Land Conservation Rule 2010 and the Kerala Conservation of Wetland and Paddy Land Conservation Act, 2008.

Bill Will Be Reintroduced In Parliament In Budget Session, Says MoS K V Thomas

Kochi: The Centre is in broad agreement with the suggestions of the parliamentary panel on food, which has just submitted its report on the much-debated food security bill, said minister of state for food and civil supplies K V Thomas. “The panel has come up with a near unanimous report, barring a dissent from the CPM member. Many of the suggestions made by the panel were already there in the ‘plan B’, being considered by the government to proceed with the bill,” the minister told TOI here.

Thrissur: A panel constituted to work on demarcating ecologically-sensitive zones around national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in the state on Monday visited the Silent Valley National Park in Palakkad and held deliberations with the public.

The panel members, comprising MLAs T N Prathapan, N Shamsudeen and state wildlife board officials, decided to recommend to the Union ministry of environment and forests to declare the entire 148-sq km buffer zone around the park as an ecologically-sensitive zone.

Kochi: If you are looking for a solar panel as power backup and don’t know the technicalities, then ask the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB).

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