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India

Washing away profits

Issue Date: Jun 30, 1994
ALTHOUGH most Bombayites have welcomed the monsoon clouds, scrap merchants, who are a vital link in the waste recycling process, are in a less buoyant mood: huge quantities of scrap deteriorate during the monsoons because of inadequate storage facilities. In the later half of May, scrap traders requested the Maharashtra government to set up a research project to develop technologies to preserve their merchandise during the monsoon months.

Paper forests

Issue Date: Jun 15, 1994
In a crusade to weed out corrupt officials, noted social activist Anna Hazare, widely acclaimed for his innovative conservation efforts that transformed the Ralegan Siddhi village in Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra into a green belt, went on an indefinite fast to protest government inaction against some corrupt forest officials in the district. Hazare returned the Padma Shree award to highlight his protest.

Caught by the horns

Author(s): Anju Sharma
Issue Date: Jun 15, 1994
CAN India suddenly go vegetarian? Several animal rights activists have come forward with offers of alternative employment for the butchers who have lost their jobs as a result of the High Court order passing the closure of Delhi's Idgah slaughterhouse.

The prawn rush

Issue Date: Jun 15, 1994
The local fishing community around Chilika continues being terrorised by a mafia bent on silencing popular discontent against the infiltration of outsiders out to mint gold by farming prawn in the lake, Asia's largest brackish water lagoon.

Security begins in the stomach

Issue Date: Jun 15, 1994
LITTLE attention has been paid to the effects of current and emerging trade arrangements, vis-a-vis GATT, on Indian food security issues. A number of related issues have been given more serious pondering: negative impact on the economic status of food producers and processors; minus marks for the state of the environment, and so on. Information from these analyses sheds some smattering of light on the food security implications of these mega-deals, but a comprehensive picture is wanting.

Power peril

Issue Date: Jun 15, 1994
In a complete reversal of its stand, the union ministry of environment and forests (MEF) has cleared the 73.5 mw Pooyamkutty hydroelectric project in Idukki district in Kerala, endangering about 2,870 ha of state forest and the traditional way of life of thousands of mat and basket weavers. Although, the union minister of state for environment and forests, Kamal Nath, had emphatically denied clearance to the project in the Parliament in March, MEF cleared the project within the next few days, yielding to hectic lobbying by the Kerala chief minister, K Karunakaran.

Hoarding the rain

Author(s): S Rajendran
Issue Date: Jun 15, 1994
THE temporary check dams (locally known as bandharas) across streams, have made a huge impact on the agricultural system in Hivare, a drought-prone village 35 km from Pune on the Pune-Saswad road. Even a year ago, the villagers of Hivare wouldn't have dared to dream of watering their fields all day -- in the dry season.

Pedalling to a new dawn

Issue Date: Jun 15, 1994
WHAT do you do when a rapidly exploding population starts an exodus to the cities and chokes up the roads, making commuting a nightmare even at high noon? Go in for more cars and better roads designed to take the load? Or do you promote an alternative mode of transport that does not vomit noxious fumes and suits the pockets of the majority? Enter the bicycle: handy, cheap, healthy and ecofriendly.

A law unto themselves

Author(s): Sudeep Mukhia
Issue Date: Jun 15, 1994
WHEN Ganga Murmu, a 5-month pregnant Santhal tribal of Bhangabandh village in West Bengal's Medinipur district, was raped in February by the son of the landlord in whose field she used to work, the members of her community decided to take the law into their own hands.

The see-saw approach

Author(s): Anju Sharma
Issue Date: Jun 15, 1994
WOOD is out, and matt or glossy steel and plastics are in, as far as the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) is concerned. In line with the government of India's decision to promote wood substitution, the ministry of urban development has instructed CPWD to ban the use of wood in construction work and shift to substitutes, in view of "the depleting forest cover, resulting in ecological degradation".
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