The Odisha government has recommended to the Union ministry of commerce & industry to extend formal approval for Tata Steel's multi-product Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at Gopalpur for one year.

"The state government has been pleased to recommend the proposal of Tata Steel for extension of formal approval for another one year from June 18 this year to June 17, 2014, in respect of multi-product SEZ at Gopalpur.

A committee set up by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to probe the death of five elephants in Orissa's Ganjam district due to a speeding train has recommended that the Railways should restrict the speed of trains passing through identified vulnerable tracks in forests to a maximum 40 km per hour to prevent elephant deaths.

On the intervening night of December 29 and 30 last year, five elephants were mowed down by Coromondel Express, speeding at 110 km/hr near Subalaya in Ganjam district, when the herd was crossing the track. Incidentally, the accident occurred at the spot where the Railways had put up a warning signage of elephants crossing.

BHUBANESWAR: A high-level committee set up by the Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) to review the mega Posco steel project in the state has spelled fresh trouble for the much-hyped project.

The committee headed by K Roy Paul was constituted as per the March 30, 2012 order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), which had suspended the environment clearance granted to the project.

The state government has sought Rs 3,050 crore outlay for the development of rail infrastructure in the state in the ensuing 2013-14 Railway budget.

The state had received only Rs 723 crore allocation in last year’s rail budget against its demand of Rs 2,345 crore. Of the total budget allocation sought for the coming year, the government has asked Rs 1,440 crore for construction of nine new lines, Rs 50 crore for gauge conversion (90-km Rupsa- Bangiriposi), Rs 890 crore for doubling and laying of third line in some sections.

Seeking the Centre's intervention to ensure speed restrictions at crossing points used by elephants, Odisha government on Wednesday asked the railway board to revisit its advisories on prevention o

Berhampur: Around 150 carcasses of Olive Ridley turtles have been washed ashore near the Rushikulya river mouth in Ganjam district, a major mass nesting site of the endangered species, in the last one month. Forest officials found at least eight dead turtles on Monday.

"Most of the carcasses were found in decomposed state. We suspected these were washed ashore to Ganjam coast from Astaranga area in Puri district, where a number of turtles were found dead recently," said divisional forest officer, (DFO) Berhampur, S S Mishra.

BERHAMPUR: To prevent wild animals from being run over by trains, forest officers have proposed solar fencing on either side of the railway track from Rambha bypass to Palur junction in Ganjam district. At least six elephants were crushed to death near Subalaya, a place within the five-km railway line, on December 29, last year. Though drivers have been asked to slow down on this stretch following the accident, forest officers are pushing for solar fencing as a permanent solution to the problem.

Amid concern about animals being run over by speeding trains in forest areas, yet another elephant was killed and another injured when the Delhi-bound Jan Shatabdi express hit a herd of pachyderms in the district on Sunday morning.

The incident occurred near Motichoor Fatak, about 50 kms from Dehra Dun. A group of eight elephants abruptly came on the tracks, SHO Manoj Singh Negi said. By the time the train had come to a halt, it had hit two elephants, killing one on the spot and leaving another injured, he said. The rest of the elephants fled into the nearby forests.

Undeterred by refusals from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests to grant sanction for using the Compensatory Afforestation and Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) funds for straight

At least six elephants, including two calves, were killed when a train ran over them in Ganjam district on Sunday, forest officials said. A railway attendant who was in the train was also killed.