World Bank aid sought for arsenic centre in Kolkata
HYDERABAD, June 12:THE Union Ministry of Rural Development is planning to set up an Arsenic Mitigation Centre in Kolkata soon, according to the Minister, Mr. M. Venkaiah Naidu.
"We have already talked to the World Bank seeking their technical collaboration in establishing the centre," he told Business Line.
Arsenic contamination of groundwater and drinking water is a major problem in West Bengal and also neighbouring Bangladesh. Indian research institutes such as the Jadavpur University, the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) and others have been seized of this problem and are evolving ways of tackling this form of growing water pollution.
Mr Venkaiah Naidu said the initiative on arsenic was one of the several approaches his Ministry was taking to improve the overall quality of drinking water in the country. "Techniques to improve quality are expensive and therefore efforts are needed to develop low-cost and effective solutions to our problems,'' he said. The Ministry has identified a total of 2.17 lakh villages in the country which lack quality drinking water, with problems ranging from arsenic, nitrate, fluorideexcess iron contamination to salinity and brackishness.
The depleting groundwater table has aggravated the water quality problems, especially the chemical form resulting in excess fluoride as in Nalgonda district of Andhra Pradesh or arsenic in the 24 Paraganas district in West Bengal.
States have been authorised to sanction sub-mission projects under the Accelerated Rural Water Supply Programme (ARWSP). Under the ARWSP, funds are provided to States to make provisions for safe drinking water in rural habitations.
Up to 20 per cent of the funds can be utilised by the State Governments to take up projects under the sub-mission programme. During the financial year 2001-02, the Centre released a total of Rs 1,700.29 crore up to February, while the States' share was of the order of Rs 2,152 crore.
KSRTC persists with eco-friendly projects
By Our Staff Reporter
BANGALORE, June 12. It has been the long green road for the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) ever since it became the first to set up the Environment Cell in 1996. And this year, the green trek was capped with an award from the State Government on World Environment Day (June 5) to celebrate the greening of the KSRTC.
It has come up with 14 initiatives, and five publications, journals, and seminars, not to mention grants for projects to make KSRTC's fleet of buses more fuel-efficient and environment-friendly.
At a seminar on "Environmental Obligations and Safety in Transport" organised by KSRTC here on Wednesday, the Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, K.Jairaj, said a proposal had been submitted to NORAD (Norwegian Aid Agency) through Tata Energy Research Institute for a grant of Rs. 55 lakh for monitoring and improving ambient air quality.
A Rs. 14.08-crore macro environment plan had been prepared to submit to multilateral funding agencies for conservation initiatives, Mr. Jairaj said.
The KSRTC had initiated rainwater harvesting at the Kempegowda Bus Station in Bangalore, and it now planned to take up similar projects in Mysore, Mangalore, Davangere, and Kolar divisions.
A pilot plant for recycling water was being installed at Depot II of Bangalore Central Division.
Under a joint project of TIFAC, an autonomous body under the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, the KSRTC was conducting trials on usage of bi-fuel on buses.
The concept was likely to go into commercialisation shortly, P.S. Anand Rao, Environment Officer, KSRTC said.
Delegates presented 19 papers at the seminar on Wednesday. The subjects ranged from law on environment relating to transport sector, occupational hazards with the use of lead and lead material in an urban context, ISO 14000 and environmental management systems, GPS for road safety, and a case study of Bharat Electronics Ltd., where the country's largest rainwater harvesting facility on an industrial campus was being set up.
V. Narasimhamurthy, industrial entrepreneur, who has come up with innovative technologies, spoke about his trials of hydrogen induction with diesel for KSRTC buses.