Lays emphasis on long-term monitoring

Groundwater resources in Kerala have come under increasing stress from rising levels of exploitation and pollution, the first aquifer atlas of Kerala has revealed. The atlas, compiled by the Central Ground Water Board, estimates the net annual groundwater availability in the State at 6.01 billion cubic metres as on March 2011. The stage of “groundwater development” for the State as a whole has been computed at 47 per cent. The utilisation pattern is, however, uneven across the State, with groundwater-stressed conditions in some parts and sub-optimal groundwater development in some others.

Central team to start district tours

The State has sought a revised drought-relief assistance of Rs. 1,884 crore from the Centre. The revised claim was presented before a Central team which arrived here on Tuesday to start field trips to assess the drought situation in various districts.

The State revised its earlier claim for Rs. 1,468 crore after taking into account the additional loss sustained by the Kerala State Electricity Board from poor rainfall.

Now it is official.

Alappuzha: About 400 residents of a Kerala village have pledged to donate their organs after death.

Union Minister of State for Power K.C. Venugopal said that Alappuzha will be included in the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) part of the Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Project (RAPDRP) soon.

As of now, Alappuzha is included in the Part A and B of the RAPDRP. The RAPDRP sanctioned for 42 towns in the State is being implemented in three parts — Part A, B and SCADA. Part A consists of setting up an IT-based data base line, which will be setup in towns with a population of more than 30,000. Part B will focus on bringing down losses in power transmission and distribution.

Farmers under the banner of Kuttanadu Vikasana Samithy (KVS), an NGO, will petition the Chief Minister on Thursday to protest against what they term as ‘infringement on the rights of farmers’ when government subsidy goes only to those who buy seeds from the State Seed Authority.

In a statement here on Wednesday, Fr. Thomas Peeliyanikkal said that the government decision affects the farmers as subsidies are routed through the Agriculture Department and district and grama panchayats, which naturally follow the government order.

From the point of view of food security it is in the best interests of the State not to allow reclamation of paddy land for any purpose, says Leena Kumari, professor and head of the Rice Research Station at Mankombu in Alappuzha.

She was speaking to The Hindu on the impact of a recent decision by the State government to legitimise reclamation of paddy lands carried out until 2005. She said that the decision was a drastic departure from The Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act 2008, which appeared capable of stemming the tide against rice cultivation in the State.

The pipe composting method of treating waste set up by students of Chettikulangara High School in the district has caught the attention of chairpersons of three municipalities, who are now on the path to implementing it in their areas.

Ambili Suresh, chairperson of the Kayamkulam municipality who visited the school to see the model for herself, said that the municipality had decided to implement it in houses in the area. “Since many of the houses are located in four cents or even less, biogas plants cannot be set up. Hence, models such as pipe composting are beneficial to them. We will submit a proposal to the District Suchitwa Mission soon in this regard,” she said.

The Centre's sanctioning of the Rs. 1840 crore Kuttanad package, which is to include measures for strengthening the ecology security of Kuttanad wetland eco-system and expand sustainable livelihood opportunities for the people of the region,' will turn four years on Tuesday.

The experts who had been in watching the implementation of the project formally launched on September 5, 2010 said a project directorate should be formed for the timely and efficient implementation of the package.

Union Minister of State for Power K.C. Venugopal has written to the Chief Minister and Industries Minister against putting the policy of carrying out mineral sand-mining with private participation on the website of ‘Emerging Kerala Global Connect,’ an initiative to woo investors to be held in September.

The letter demanded that the issue be avoided from ‘Emerging Kerala’ and the advertisement to this purpose put on the government website also be withdrawn.