Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Buying organic, what and where

Those who favour organic would find much info. about Chennai outlets  in The Hindu MetroPlus.
But first, I must tell you about our neighbourhood organic outlet, at Kazhipattur that caters to residents on Navalur-Padur stretch of OMR.
It is an initiative by  Mr Elango S, at Akshaya Adena (B203), Khzhipattur.
Speciality : Rice (Ponnin, Kaikuthal, Red rice and Kavuni), Cooking Oil (Groundnut, Gingilly oil) Amla Juice, Spirulina Products, Filter Coffee,Millet Vermicelli.
Free Home Delivery - between 4 PM to 11 PM, with bill.
Organic Certification
How to order:
Online through Organic Store, OMR website
E-mail - contact@organicstoreomr.in with your home address and items list.
SMS 97 9099 7077 with your home Address and list of Products.
As Ilango's is our neighbourhood store, and it started functioning recently, your comments would help the store owner to improve service.

Vaer, Online
Online shoppers through website - Vaer - can  have their organics home delivered - fruits, veggies, home and personal care items, and grocery - all organic.
Our greens are Rs. 20 a bunch. Which is the same as the regular market price. And delivery is free. Says shop founder Kayalvizhi Raja.
We offer a mixed box of mangoes. Even if people order just one variety, we try and send a couple of different types along with their order, complimentary.”
Vaer focusses on local foods in their ‘Country Special’ section, such as coconut palm sugar, karuppu kavuni rice and ragi pappads.
“Yes. Organic food doesn’t stay fresh for long".
Call 094446-67070; they are on Facebook

 Organic Green Store
At Anna Nagar, Periyar Nagar; known for its cold-pressed oils: coconut, sesame and groundnut
Run by He
malatha, they have vegetables delivered on Saturdays, by 20 plus farmers across the state.
No. 2, B-Block, 2nd Avenue, Chinthamani, Annanagar, Chennai-6001020; Phone: 96262-78090

Adyar ReStore
A not-for-profit,run by volunteers.
Specialises in traditional grains. On offer is a range of millets. Their ‘multigrain kanji mix’ made with red rice, millets, thinai, samai, samba wheat, etc. is one of their signature products. Besides vegetables, they stock foods such as organic jaggery, handmade peanut butter and freshly made sambar powder
ReStore organises vegetable and fruit bazaar on Tuesday and Saturday between 12 noon and 7 p.m.
ReStore Adyar Centre, No 27/ 10, 2nd Main Road, Kasturba Nagar, Adyar, Chennai-600020.
Phone: 044-24430093

T Nagar
Says co-founder Madhusoodhanan K, they get fruits and vegetables twice a week (Wednesday and Saturday) from Kodaikanal, Tirunelveli, Erode, Gummudipoondi and Coonoor.
Grapes and pomegranates come from Karnataka and Maharashtra.
No.24, North Boag Road, T.Nagar Phone: 28157654

Sunday Shandy
Luz Church Rd.
Initiative by organic farmer P B Murali, with Ranganathan - “We had the market on Sunday initially but since it interfered with my farm activities, it has now been shifted to Friday. The other days, I sell packaged organic products,”
Pineapples from Nagaland, apples from Himachal Pradesh and sweet lime from Krishnagiri… Murali sources his organic products from all over the country.
"I specialise in organic mangoes and grow mostly Alphonso, Banganapalli and Imampasand varieties on my farm." Murali also sells unprocessed milk every Wednesday.
Shandy held every Friday between 3 p.m. and 7.30 p.m.
No.177, Luz Church Road, Mylapore
Phone: 93806-91203

Monday, May 13, 2013

Solar plan hits speed breakers

Our earlier post – Some solar facts – needs to be read with this one,  to get a sense of why we have problem meeting our solar aspirations.
Vendors at the Chennai expo on renewable energy organised by the Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency (TEDA) quoted between Rs.1.6 lakh and Rs.1.8 lakh, for putting up a 1 KW (kilowatt) domestic rooftop solar power system.
The handing out of the Central Government subsidy has not yet been streamlined. “Several solar power vendors have closed operations over the past year because of losses suffered in not getting the Central government subsidy’’, says K.E.Ragunaathan, solar energy entrepreneurs who started Solkar’s in 1984.
At times poor battery packs are being sold because battery prices have shot up over the past year even though solar photovoltaic panel costs have come down.
Says Mr Ragunaathan “State government levies a VAT (value-added tax) component of 5 per cent on solar power components. Where is the incentive for the consumer to opt for solar inverter, if the regular electric inverter is also taxed at five per cent ? If the tax component is cut or waived, it would bring down the entry price for solar.”
Kerala had last year targeted to move 10,000 households to solar power, with each household accounting for a 1 KW rooftop power system. They reduced the VAT on solar power to one per cent.
Source: ‘The Price goes through the roof’The Hindu write-up by Karthik Subramaniam

Cross-filed from My Take by GVK

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Man in the news at Mantri Synergy

My Mantri Synergy friend and OMR Greens enthusiast Mr Santhakumar (with face-mask)  might curse me for this photo. But then I couldn't readily lay my hands on any  other photo, of the man who has made news at Mantri's. Mr Santhakumar has become a father. His wife gave birth to a baby boy last night (Friday), their first. The mother and child are doing well.
At Mantri's we have been trying to evolve a tradition, of getting parents to plant a sapling whenever we  have a new-born joining our residential community. We planted a sapling - 'shenbegum' - to celebrate the first-born,  at Mantri Synergy's Chakraborthy family, in May 2011. A mango was planted near the swin pool when the Ramkumars  had a son, the second child  to be born in our community.
We could have yet another sapling at Mantri's to celebrate child-birth,  if we can persuade Mrs Santhakumar to do the honours.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Sunday clean-up : Akkarai beach

Social activist Rajeshkanna emailed these images of the Akkarai beach on ECR his volunteer friends plan to tackle this Sunday (May 12). His friend Suresh Kumar  SMS-ed that 50 plus volunteers - mostly from TCS, HCL and Wipro - have already signed up for the two-hour beach cleaning drive. Akkarai beach this Sunday evening seems to be the place to be in, if you want to make a social statement with your presence; if you wish to be seen, and interact with like-minded enthusiasts with environmental concerns.
Remember Rajeshkanna ? When OMR Greens organized a Padur Walk Rajesh, with his wife and three-year-old daughter, played a pro-active role sticking placards at Padur street-corner and spreading the message,  word-of-mouth, among passers-by who cared to give him a hearing.
Rajesh and wife have been leading the Akkarai beach clean-up drive every Sunday evening since March 23. They started with a handful of children from their apartment complex in Sholnganallur.  From the second weeks more children, with parents joined in, with trash bags and gloves, to get rid of a small, but demonstrative, stretch of the beach, of its litter of plastics. The clean-up is carried out, Sunday evening - 4.30 p m till 6.30, when the beach is filled with visitors.
With their beach clean-up drive Rajeshkanna and his band of volunteers have been able to persuade the Chennai Corporation to place trash bins at strategic points on the beach.
Sunday Plan:
May 12 beach clean-up takes place on Akkarai, Shyamala Garden Avenue Road. Nearest bus stop: Water Tank stop on ECR.
Time - 4.30 pm till 6.30 p m
Volunteers can send SMS 9884244423/9884244483 or email rajeshreshi@gmail.com.
Contact Suresh Kumar 9843677487

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Some solar facts

The Hindu devoted an entire page of  its Sunday edition to solar power, carrying articles that cover nearly every thing  one needs to know to go solar.
It is not as if awareness is lacking. People do see the advantages. And yet most of us remain solar skeptics. Despite govt.  incentives we don’t see a whole lot of people showing enthusiasm for  small rooftop solar plants .  State government offers a generation-based incentive of Rs. 2 a unit. plus Rs.20,000 subsidy, for plants of up to 1 kW. But the rules are still being formulated.
A one-kilowatt peak (KWp) solar photovoltaic plant, without battery, costs Rs. 1 lakh. With the capital subsidy of 30 per cent from the Centre and Rs. 20,000 from the State government , the initial investment will be Rs. 50,000.  Add a battery – costing Rs.50,000 – the cost of solar power to households would be Rs.1 lakh per kw.  Assuming that the plant generates 135 units a month, consumer saves, annually, Rs. 9,315 on power bill. A decentralised solar system should make economic sense,  at least for those who consume more than 500 units in two months.
We publish here some other info gleaned from The Hindu’s solar page.  For those wanting to read all the articles, we give the links at the end of this post.
We treat solar energy merely an alternative energy source, rather that the key to boosting power generation.”Actively promote solar energy as a viable alternative in urban India and not just as a solution to power-deprived rural or remote regions,” says Tata Solar CEO Ajay K. Goel.
SPO (solar purchase obligation) in Tamil Ndu makes it mandatory for certain classes of electricity consumers to get a part of their consumption from solar plants. SPO has been challenged in the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity by the Tamil Nadu Spinning Mills Association.
For large industries, it makes business sense to put up their own rooftop or ground-mounted plants than to buy solar power to meet their SPO. Daimler plant near Chennai has set up a 300-kilowatt (kW) rooftop plant.
Colleges/schools can do the same. B.S. Abdur Rahman University,keen on starting solar courses. is putting up a 150-kW plant. A.M. Jain College in Chennai is working on installing a 1-MW rooftop project.
Over 75 per cent of our solar projects use imported thin-film technology.Thin-films account for less than 15 per cent of the total solar installations worldwide.Thin-films have their specific application, but in India the choice was made not for technological, but financial, reasons.
Small rooftop plants on individual houses are slow in coming. Despite govt. sweetners. Besides generation-based incentive, of Rs. 2 a unit, the state govt. offers Rs. 20,000 subsidy for units with capacities up to 1 kW. But the rules for this are still being formulated.
Muthukadu lake project
IIT-Madras have developed a hybrid solar-powered desalination plant. A solar photovoltaic panel is dovetailed to a power grid or a backup diesel generator that will power up during periods of weak sunshine and at night and keep producing water through a reverse osmosis plant.
The pilot plant produces 2.4 kilolitres a day. Since the system does not use backup batteries, maintenance and operational costs are minimal. Efforts to scale up the pilot plant to provide 1 million litres per day. The project was envisioned to be implemented near Muttukkadu, a few years ago but was shelved due to lack of funds.
At Dharmapuri hospital
A pilot solar plant designed by the institute is used to heat infant warmers at a hospital in Dharmapuri and provide energy required to store vaccines in refrigerators.Stand alone systems are quite useful and stand a competitive chance, especially in remote areas, where transport of diesel to power diesel generators costs a lot,” said Jeevan Das, a research scholar who is working on the Suryajal project.
Gujarat solar model
Launched towards the end of 2010, the Rs. 9,000-crore Gujarat Solar Park, set up on government wasteland in north Gujarat, has already been producing 214 MW,making it the first State to generate such solar energy capacity at a single location.
Stretched to 5,000 acres, from the present 2,669 acres, the Charanka Park, located at a village of Patan district, will generate 500 MW. This will make it Asia’s largest solar farm. Gujarat’s total installed capacity is 605 MW, and projects are operational in 10 districts.The government is looking for more wasteland in north Gujarat’s Banaskantha district for setting up another solar park.
Gandhinagar, being envisioned as model solar city, already has solar rooftop systems ranging from 1 kilowatt (kW) to 150 kW at more than 150 locations. This covers a total of two acres of rooftop area, providing 1 per cent of the total energy consumption in the capital. Also, the new building of the Gujarat Pollution Control Board is completely powered by solar energy
The solar page articles:

Cross filed from My Take by GVK