Real Estate

Rainwater harvesting likely to be mandatory for new structures in Kerala

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on March 21, 2013

The State Government has given an in-principle nod to a proposal requiring all new buildings and houses to mandatorily feature provisions for rainwater harvesting.

Briefing newspersons here after a Cabinet meeting, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said this would form part of efforts to conserve water resources in an increasingly drought-prone State.

PANEL APPOINTED

A Cabinet subcommittee comprising P.J. Joseph, minister for water resources; M.K. Muneer, minister for panchayats and social welfare; and Manjalamkuzhi Ali, minister for urban affairs will frame required rules.

The stipulation with respect to rainwater harvesting will be enforced subsequently, the Chief Minister said.

The State has been declared drought-hit after successive failures of the monsoons during last year. It is looking to the pattern of summer rains for badly needed signs of meaningful relief.

Seasonal forecasts by some models have been indicating that summer rains could be normal to even slightly above normal during the current season.

RAIN DISTRIBUTION

But the crucial issue is how the seasonal thundershowers get distributed. India Meteorological Department (IMD) statistics show that the State is recording normal to excess rainfall concurrently.

This trend was noticed from January to March this year, and has continued until through the first 20 days of March, the IMD statistics revealed.

But the thundershowers are not proving enough to make any material difference to the groundwater situation. For this to happen, rains should sustain for a day or two together, experts say. But this is not usually the pattern associated with summer showers.

RESERVOIR SITUATION

Major reservoirs are precariously close to running dry for most practical purposes. This has meant that hydel generation too has taken a hit, necessitating cyclical load-shedding in the morning and evening.

The load-shedding schedule has been lifted for a limited period to prevent hardships for students who are writing 10{+t}{+h} class examinations.

Peaking summer and sultry weather have seen power consumption too going up in tandem to a cumulative level of 60 million units recorded during the past two days.

STUDENTS STIPEND

In other decisions, retirement age of doctors under the Employees State Insurance scheme has been increased by two years, the Chief Minister said.

Stipend for medical postgraduate students has been raised 39 per cent. Postgraduate students-junior residents would get Rs 31,000 in the first year; Rs 33,000 in the second; and Rs 34,000 in the third year. Super specialty students-senior residents would get Rs 35,000; Rs 36,000; and Rs 37,000 respectively.

Postgraduate students-senior residents PG bonded would get Rs 38,000 and senior residents-super specialty bonded Rs 39,000. Stipend of dental postgraduate students would be hiked soon, Chandy said.

> vinson.kurian@thehindu.co.in

Published on March 21, 2013

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