Environment Current Affairs

Union Government launches E-Payment Module to deposit compensatory levies into CAMPA Funds

Union Government has launched an e-payment module to make the payment of compensatory levies into the Compensatory Afforestation Management Planning Authority (CAMPA) Funds.

It was launched by Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar in New Delhi in order to make these payments for diversion of forest land quicker and more transparent.

The e-payment module has a designated account for the payment purpose, depending on the States in which the forest land is proposed to be diverted. Initially, the payments will be allowed through two modes viz. online challan mode through RTGS and NEFT and offline challan mode.

The deposit of compensatory levies through the e-portal will be optional till August 31, 2015 and will be accepted only through the e-module from 1 September 2015.

With the launch of the e-payment portal, henceforth no payments will be accepted other than through the portal or unless specifically ordered guidelines issued by Ad-hoc CAMPA.

What is CAMPA Fund?

  • Levies are imposed on development projects that seek land inside a Reserved Forest or a Protected Area (PA) in a sanctuary or a national park.
  • These collected levies are accrued in the CAMPA Funds which are to be utilised to plant trees elsewhere in order to ostensibly compensate the loss of forest due to development projects.
  • It should be noted that the CAMPA has been created on the order of the Supreme Court in October 2002.
  • The Ad-hoc CAMPA decides the procedure of per-verification of credits of levies in the State-wise accounts.

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Chengalikodan Banana from Kerala accorded GI status

Chengalikodan banana variety from Thrissur district of Kerala has been accorded Geographical Indication (GI) status by the Chennai based Central GI registry.

This banana variant is uniquely grown in Chowannur, Pazhayannur, Wadakkanchery, Puzhakkal and Ollukkara block panchayats in Thrissur district of Kerala.

Chengalikodan banana is known for its unique shape, size, colour and taste. It was cultivated in erstwhile Chengazhikode from where it got its name as Chengazhikodan banana which was later changed as Chengalikodan banana.

Other GI status products from Kerala

Vazhakkulam pineapple, Central Travancore jaggery, Pokkali rice, Palakkadan matta rice, Wayanadan scented rice varieties Jeerakasala and Gandhakasala are other agricultural products from Kerala already having GI status.

About Geographical Indication (GI) status

  • Geographical Indication is an insignia on products having a unique geographical origin and evolution over centuries. These products have special quality or reputation attributable to its geographical origin.
  • In India, GI registration is governed by the Geographical Indications of goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.
  • Advantages: GI status confers legal protection to these products and prevents unauthorised use of it by others. It promotes economic prosperity of producers of goods and also helps consumers get quality products of desired traits.
  • Darjeeling tea was the first agricultural product in India to be accorded with GI tag. Presently, there are nearly 200 unique products registered as GIs in India.

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Cochin Airport becomes world’s first to operate completely on Solar Power

Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) of Kerala has become the first airport in the world to fully operate on solar power.

It achieved this feat after Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chand officially commissioned the 12 MWp solar power plant near the cargo complex of airport.

Key facts

  • The plant comprises 46,150 solar panels laid across 45 acres near the cargo complex. The plant has been installed by the Kolkata-based Vikram Solar Pvt. Ltd.
  • It is capable of generating 50,000 units of electricity daily. It is coupled with an existing 1 MW solar plant commissioned in 2013.
  • It will make airport absolutely power neutral in terms of energy consumption as it consumes around 50000 to 60000 units of electricity per day.
  • The plant system is without any battery storage as it is directly connected to the grid.

Environmental impact: This green power project will not result in any carbon dioxide emissions over the next 25 years. It will produce clean source of energy equivalent to non-clean energy produced from coal fired power plants by burning more than 3 lakh metric tonnes of Coals. This plant is also equivalent to planting 30 lakh trees.

Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL): It was the first airport in India to be constructed in public-private-partnership (PPP) model in 1999. It is only PPP airport in the country that has handled more than 5 million passengers in a year.

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