First 30-MW project to come up in Palakkad in six months

The State Cabinet on Wednesday gave the green signal for setting up solar projects in various parts of the State with a combined generation capacity of 330 MW. Addressing a press conference soon after the weekly Cabinet meeting here, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said the solar project would be established by the Korean company Hanjong Energy and Technology Pvt. Ltd. The company had promised to provide power at Rs.3.25 a unit or in accordance with the power tariff fixed by the Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission, whichever was less.

Complaints of overexploitation of groundwater

The Assembly Committee on Environment, which visited the bottling plant of PepsiCo at Kanjikode on Tuesday, directed the Groundwater Department to monitor and restrict strictly the use of groundwater by the company. The committee, on complaints from various organisations that the soft-drink giant was overexploiting groundwater, asked the department to examine if the company was tapping groundwater in excess of the permitted quantity. The complaints said the overexploitation was lowering the water table, affecting the drinking water sources of the local people.

Elaborate arrangements have been made to monitor restaurants, hotels and other food businesses within the State and also the inflow of food items from outside the State during the festival season, Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar has said.

Special surveillance squads had already been deployed for the purpose in all districts. Checking had been made more stringent in the border check-posts of Amaravila in Thiruvananthapuram district, Aryankavu in Kollam district and Meenakshipuram and Walayar check-posts in Palakkad district, the Minister said on Sunday.

The Southern Ispat steel re-rolling company was closed down on Friday following an order of the State Pollution Control Board (PCB) for not complying with rules on pollution control.

The company’s licence had expired on June 30, PCB officials said. The company was served notice earlier after local people complained it was letting out polluted water into paddy fields. They also complained of air pollution.

The Forest Department on Friday submitted before the Kerala High Court that the Cherunelli estate in the Nelliampathy forest region has been notified as reserve forests.

According to the state, 296 acres are notified as reserve forest. The state further submitted that in an order dated January 20, 2006, the state had made it clear that any transfer of lease land by way of assignment lease or gift attracts the Forest Conservation Act, and hence lessees cannot have any absolute right to transfer the forest land to strangers.

The area around forests has had several human-animal conflicts

Solar fences will henceforth secure human settlements and farmlands in the three forest divisions of Wayanad from wild animal raids that have lead to several man-animal conflicts in recent years. Solar fences will be installed along a length of 300 km in the forest divisions of Wayanad North and South and the wildlife division, says K.J. Varghese, Managing Director, Kerala Forest Development Corporation (KFDC).

Solar fences will henceforth secure human settlements and farmlands in the three forest divisions of Wayanad from wild animal raids that have lead to several man-animal conflicts in recent years.

Solar fences will be installed along a length of 300 km in the forest divisions of Wayanad North and South and the wildlife division, says K.J. Varghese, Managing Director, Kerala Forest Development Corporation (KFDC).

The Kerala Water Resources Department will review the safety aspects of all dams under it.

A conference convened by Minister for Water Resources P. J. Joseph took the decision in view of the overtopping of the Pazhassi Dam early this week. It decided to replace all the shutters of the dam urgently and entrust the work to public sector undertaking Kerala Electrical and Allied Engineering Company. Rs. 7 crore had been sanctioned for the work.

A satyagraha organised by various environmentalists and social organisations in front of the District Collectorate demanding steps to protect the ecologically fragile Nelliampathy forests was inaugurated by S. Shankar, senior scientist of the Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI), on Wednesday.

The organisations demanded that the government take over all lease-expired forest land in Nelliampathy and order a high-level police inquiry into cases relating to the pledging of the forest land in banks to take huge amounts of loan.

Area adjacent to Muthikulam and Siruvani forests

The Tribunal for Kerala Forest (Vesting and Management of Ecologically Fragile Lands)- First Additional District Court has declared as evergreen forest 37.32 hectares of land claimed by a private party as cultivated area at Anakaranam Malavaram of Palakkayam village in the Mannarkad Forest Division . The scheduled property in survey number 2020\3 of Palakkayam village was notified as ecologically fragile land under the Kerala Forest (Vesting and Management of Ecologically Fragile Lands) Act, 2003 which came into effect on June 2, 2000

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