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The Fortnight

INDIA

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Jun 30, 1998 | From the print edition

The Union government is expected to sanction about Rs 4,000 crore per annum for implementing various watershed programmes throughout the country, says G B Singh, deputy director general, National Resource Management of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (icar), New Delhi.

The Taj Mahal, which has been exposed to pollution, rain, and extreme weather conditions for years, will get a facelift under a Rs 93-lakh international collaborative programme.

India's environment minister Suresh Prabhu has reconstituted several expert committees, which give clearance to new projects. These committees are almost entirely headed by former senior bureaucrats, despite the fact that the ministry's notifi-cation stresses that the chairpersons of the committees have to be environmentalists of repute.

The Indian government is yet to give a formal approval to a new mechanical booster device that can save about 30 per cent fuel in four-wheeled automobiles. The technique was patented in 1989 by an Indian technologist.

The Indian Meteorological Depart-ment has forecast a normal monsoon for the 11th consecutive year. However, the department says that El Nio will persist during the first half of the monsoon, possibly affecting early monsoon rains.

The Rajasthan government has decided to ban animal dissections in school laboratories.

Illegal cutting of forests, increase in production in different stone crusher units, mica powder plants, cement godowns and plying of poorly maintained vehicles on roads, has led to rise in pollution in Koderma, Bihar.

Traffic Network, one of the world's largest wildlife trade monitoring group, would monitor trade in medicinal plants also. It is planning to undertake a series of projects on medicinal plants to assess the impact of trade and local healthcare systems.

Animals and birds in Nandankanan, Bhubaneshwar, one of the country's premier zoos, are dying due to deadly infections.

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