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Contents page
Oct 15-31, 1994

Cover Story

The plague today holds the same threshold of dread that it did in the 14th century. So when the Black Death struck India late last month, the administration and the country's health system collapsed under the power of both

Editor's page

MEDIEVAL afflictions were not restricted to Beed, Surat or other
parts of India hit by the plague last fortnight. They showed up
in the blinkered reception of the news in several supposedly
informed quarters in the country, and other nations as well.

Take the case of the mainstream Indian press. For several
days immediately after the dreadful disease, in epidemic form,
was recognised at Surat, a collection of imagery and phraseology of the Black Death, generated over the centuries since its
,occurrence 650 years ago, was tritely touted to create the first

I AM the law," said Bumble, the parochial beadle in Charles
Dickens' Oliver Twist, terrorising his wards into submission.
The ministry of environment and forests' new draft
Conservation of Forests and Natural Ecosystems Act is packed
with Bumblesian hauteur. Claiming to revise the highly-criticised Indian Forest Act of 1927, it seeks to lay down the law to
restrict people's traditional rights over reserved forests, which
are owned and managed by the state, and to
sharply curtail the area of village forests in which

THERE will be few who will disagree with the Supreme Court
judgement that over Rs 420 crore have been washed away in
the first phase of the Ganga Action Plan (GAP) Without any significant results. This left little optimism about how the Rs 350
crore marked for the second phase of the GAP, which was
aimed largely at the major tributaries of the Gariga, would be
spent - till the Supreme Court bench, headed by justice
Kuldip Singh, froze GAP's account.

The judgement comes in the wake of affidavits filed by the
environmental lawyer M C Mehta, saying that the results

News

There are many organisations in India that work towards
mitigating the effects of natural disasters

An elated India is elected chairpersons of the International Atomic Energy
Agency's board of governors and the organisation's member nations
agree to strengthen security around nuclear plants

A group of robots have
taken to the football
field in Japan for the
second year in
succession

An ambitious airport
project threatens to
decimate the rare
dolphins that inhabit
the waters to the
west of Hong Kong

Post-communist Siberia
has hardly any paved
streets, but is brimming
with cellular phones and
$40,000 jeeps

Width the nundler of
peopk using on4ine
US
elecbonk companies am
reaching out ftwidically
lkw stswes of the
mwket pie

Interview

ASHISH KUMAR MUKHERJEE is the Director General of Health Services (DGHS), and as the country's topmost health bureaucrat, was the man in the hotseat when the recent pl...

Science & Technology

Channels and valleys observed on the Martian surface and meteorites of
Martian origin indicate that once there might have been water on the planet

A recent study suggests thart
a moderate consumption of
alcohol is good for the heart

Over the next few years, ozone loss is projected to go from to worse

A new instrument makes the
task of monitoring
ozone levels easier

Analysis

The plague today holds the same threshold of dread
that it did in the 14th century. So when the Black
Death struck India late last month, the administration and the country's health system collapsed under the power of both

From barefoot ragpickers to rich kabariwallahs moving about in cars, the country's waste recycling industry caters to countless Indians.An attractive business proposition that most people choose to overlook, scrap Is even being
imported now

Red rot, a fatal fungus eating into the sugarcane crop in western
Uttar
Pradesh, has left India drastically short on sugar. BIJOY BASANT
PATRO
finds a countryside caned to death

The insular but self-sufficient existence of the marine nomads
inhabiting
the islands that pepper the Brahmaputra river as it winds across
Assam
illustrates how humans can adapt their lifestyle to harmonise
with their
surroundings. But it's a tough life, far from the cosseting
comforts of
modern technology and subject to nature's vagaries

Special Report

The government's proposed revision of the Indian Forest Act does
little for community participation and only serves to vest more powers with
the Central government

Feature

The commons have gone green in some villages in the Tehri Garhwal
district, with the
people coming together to afforest an invaluable legacy

The Fortnight

An elated India is elected chairpersons of the International Atomic Energy
Agency's board of governors and the organisation's member nations
agree to strengthen security around nuclear plants

A group of robots have
taken to the football
field in Japan for the
second year in
succession

An ambitious airport
project threatens to
decimate the rare
dolphins that inhabit
the waters to the
west of Hong Kong

Post-communist Siberia
has hardly any paved
streets, but is brimming
with cellular phones and
$40,000 jeeps

Width the nundler of
peopk using on4ine
US
elecbonk companies am
reaching out ftwidically
lkw stswes of the
mwket pie

Leader

MEDIEVAL afflictions were not restricted to Beed, Surat or other
parts of India hit by the plague last fortnight. They showed up
in the blinkered reception of the news in several supposedly
informed quarters in the country, and other nations as well.

Take the case of the mainstream Indian press. For several
days immediately after the dreadful disease, in epidemic form,
was recognised at Surat, a collection of imagery and phraseology of the Black Death, generated over the centuries since its
,occurrence 650 years ago, was tritely touted to create the first

I AM the law," said Bumble, the parochial beadle in Charles
Dickens' Oliver Twist, terrorising his wards into submission.
The ministry of environment and forests' new draft
Conservation of Forests and Natural Ecosystems Act is packed
with Bumblesian hauteur. Claiming to revise the highly-criticised Indian Forest Act of 1927, it seeks to lay down the law to
restrict people's traditional rights over reserved forests, which
are owned and managed by the state, and to
sharply curtail the area of village forests in which

THERE will be few who will disagree with the Supreme Court
judgement that over Rs 420 crore have been washed away in
the first phase of the Ganga Action Plan (GAP) Without any significant results. This left little optimism about how the Rs 350
crore marked for the second phase of the GAP, which was
aimed largely at the major tributaries of the Gariga, would be
spent - till the Supreme Court bench, headed by justice
Kuldip Singh, froze GAP's account.

The judgement comes in the wake of affidavits filed by the
environmental lawyer M C Mehta, saying that the results

Crosscurrent

... people know that it is barking up the wrong tree

Is the ban on "tiger shows" at Kanha and Bandhavgarh really in
interest of the big

A fearsome weed in the Rann of Kutch is hardly, as is feared, sucking
the land to death

Review

Forest Malaria in Southeast Asia Edited by V P Sharma and A Kondrashin Price: Not stated Community Participation in Malaria Control Edited by V P Sharma Publisher: Malaria Research Centre Price: Not stated

Greenhouse Regime: Who pays? Edited by Peter Hayes and Kirk Smith wrs: Earthscan Publications Ltd, $19.95

Minerals and Ecology S P Banerjee Publisher: Oxford & 1BH Publishing Co Pvt Ltd Price: Not stated

Film>>Report>>

Grassroots

The commons have gone green in some villages in the Tehri Garhwal
district, with the
people coming together to afforest an invaluable legacy

Letters

Modem abattoirs: blood sport

Of late, there has been a spurt in media
attention on cruelty towards animals in
slaughterhouses all over the country.
Animal welfare groups, too, have voiced
their concern.

Nevertheless, those who have the
welfare of animals in mind fail to send a
clear message about a complete ban on
such killings; they merely suggest that
no cruelties should be inflicted. This is a
half-hearted approach, making it easier
fo r the government propaganda
machinery and other vested interests to

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