K Raju

Under Western Ghats Development Programme

THENI: The Theni district administration has initiated a step to keep the Periyar dam and its surroundings more environment-friendly and conducive to wild animals, birds and endangered species in the forests around the reservoir.

To begin with, the dam site and streets of residential colony near the dam would be illuminated with solar lights, under the initiative of Theni District Rural Development Agency.

A total of 20 lights would be installed on the dam site and 25 on the streets in the quarters near the dam. The project would be implemented with funds sanctioned under Western Ghats Development Programme, said DRDA officials. Administrative sanction had been granted for installation of lights on the dam site.

Such a measure would not only scale down consumption of power but also eliminate maintenance of power lines. Above all, it would be an eco-friendly measure to protect the forest environment.

Proposals had been sent to the government for installation of 20 solar lights in Vaigai dam also. Installation work would commence after administrative sanction, they added.

The DRDA plans to install 145 solar lights of three models meant for streets and houses at various places this year. Top priority would be given to villages in remote and inaccessible areas and on hills.

Efforts were also under way to popularise use of solar energy as an alternative and renewable source among people in the district, said officials.

Several industries, including masala powder making units and pulses processing industries in the district, have installed solar heaters to cut down power expenses.