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300 schools get access to green centre

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The Hindu              07.01.2014

300 schools get access to green centre

Asha Sridhar

An environmental information dissemination centre (EIDC), a central resource centre for school students, has been opened for students and teachers from schools that are a part of the National Green Crops (NGC).

The centre, which has been set up at a Chennai Corporation Middle School in Choolai, is the first EIDC in the city, and has already been set up in 10 districts during the previous academic year by the department of environment, said the centre in-charge and NGC district co-ordinator, G.Thangaraj.

“It is a centre where students and teachers from NGC schools in the city can learn about environment-related topics such as pollution and energy conservation,” he said. There are around 300 such schools in the city.

Teachers to be trained

The centre has a resource room — with books, multimedia and a television — that can house up to 60 people. It also has a lab where teachers will be trained to use soil, water and air testing kits.

“The trained teachers will in turn teach the students and NGC schools will be given one set each,” he said, adding that they had already trained 50 teachers.

The centre will be open to Chennai Corporation, government, government-aided and private schools that are part of NGC.

Joseph Patrick, an NGC co-ordinator at a government-aided school, said the centre can be a common meeting ground for environment-related activities for school students.

Mr. Thangaraj said the centre would be used to conduct training and seminars and students could be brought there in turns.

Compost pit, medicinal garden, next

They are also planning to display models on rainwater harvesting, and set up a vermi-compost pit and medicinal plant garden on the premises. The centre is stocked with a set of telefilms and books given by the department of environment and ministry of environment and forests.

Some NGOs are also involved in the centre, said Mr. Thangaraj. He said it would be fully functional by the next academic year.

The centre was inaugurated in December 2013, by the director of environment H. Malleshappa in the presence of other officials, said Mr. Thangaraj.


Corporation finally gets to tap gas from biogas plant

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The Hindu              02.01.2014

Corporation finally gets to tap gas from biogas plant

Mayor S.M. Velusamy (third left) inaugurating the biogas plant at the Amma Canteen in Saravanampatty in Coimbatore on Tuesday.—Photo: M. Periasamy
Mayor S.M. Velusamy (third left) inaugurating the biogas plant at the Amma Canteen in Saravanampatty in Coimbatore on Tuesday.—Photo: M. Periasamy

On Tuesday, after a long wait the Coimbatore Corporation finally began tapping gas from the biomethanation plant near the Amma Canteen in Saravanampatty.

Mayor S.M. Velusamy inaugurated the facility at the budget canteen in the presence of Commissioner G. Latha, Deputy Commissioner S. Sivarasu, North Zone Chairman P. Rajkumar and a few others.

The members of the self-help group managing the canteen kitchen will use the gas, generated from decaying food and vegetable waste, to cook breakfast and lunch.

According to sources, the Corporation supplying the gas would help it save on three-fourth of a commercial LPG cylinder on a daily basis. The Corporation supplies an LPG cylinder a day and that costs Rs. 1,000.

The women members at the kitchen cook 1,200 idlis a day for breakfast and 300 plates of sambar rice and as many plates of curd rice.

The sources said that the civic body would at present be able to save on three-fourth of a cylinder by using the biogas. In about two months, it would be able to save on a cylinder as the volume of gas generated would increase.

The Corporation had built the biogas plant at Rs. 10 lakh as part of the project to rely more on green fuel. The plant that used 500 kg food and vegetable waste a day had the capacity to generate 25 cubic metre gas a day.

It has three chambers – an inlet tank, a digester tank and an outlet tank, from where the gas is tapped. It takes 35 – 40 days for the gas to be generated. Once the gas was generated, the process would continue, without any human intervention, said Selvaraj of Nirmal Biogen Technology, the company that had constructed the plant.

The Corporation sources said that the civic body was using the biomethanation technology to fire a community kitchen in Kamaraj Nagar and a crematorium in the city.


Community groups and SHGs to maintain parks

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The Hindu                 28.12.2013

Community groups and SHGs to maintain parks

face to face:An AIADMK councillor speaking at the Tiruchirapalli City Corporation Council meeting on Friday.— Photo: A. Muralitharan
face to face:An AIADMK councillor speaking at the Tiruchirapalli City Corporation Council meeting on Friday.— Photo: A. Muralitharan

Tiruchirapalli City Corporation Council on Friday decided to hand over maintenance of public parks in the city to community groups and women self-help groups.

A decision to this effect was taken at an urgent meeting of the council with A. Jaya, Mayor, in the chair. Conceding the need to improve the upkeep of the public parks in the city, an official resolution that was approved by the council, said the infrastructure such as lights, gardens, amusement equipment, and toilets have been lying in disuse in many of the parks because of the absence of personnel to maintain them.

The corporation now plans to identify community (comprising residents of the respective areas) or self-help groups to maintain the parks. Initially, the parks would be handed over to the groups for maintenance for three years. The civic body would post watch and ward staff and groups would be vested with the task of maintaining the parks, including the gardens and other infrastructure. The corporation will not pay the groups any salary.

However, they may be gradually allowed to collect a user fee of Rs. 50 a month or Rs. 2 a person as entry fee to the parks. The groups will be allowed to put up milk kiosks through Aavin or other agencies.

The council approved a resolution to relocate all the 66 traders of the Vazhakkai Mandi functioning adjacent to Gandhi Market, to the Viragupettai Overhead Drinking Water Tank complex, where the necessary infrastructure will be developed.

Answering a query from M. Mohamed Mustafa of Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Corporation Commissioner V.P. Thandapani said the OHT complex had adequate space to accommodate the traders.

The council gave its nod for constructing a new commercial complex by demolishing the diamond jubilee building, an old toilet complex, a two-wheeler parking lot, and a few shops in front of Gandhi Market as part of the civic body’s initiative to renovate and redevelop the market.

However, the move was strongly opposed by Syed Ibrahim (independent), who sought to know the fate of the 200-odd traders currently at the diamond jubilee building and wondered whether they would be allotted space at the new building or given alternative sites. Corporation officials contended that no trader had been allotted shops at the building and only platform shopkeepers were allowed to carry on their business there on a first-come-first-served basis every day.

Mr. Thandapani said measures were aimed at relieving the congestion around the market. However, alleging irregularities in the move, Mr. Ibrahim staged a walkout from the meeting.


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