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India

Official doublespeak stumps Udaipur villagers

Author(s): Uday Shankar
Issue Date: Aug 31, 1993
IS THE left hand of government truly unaware of what the right hand does? Yes, indeed, villagers of Vasu in Udaipur district would respond. "Otherwise," noted a villager who didn't want to be named, "how else would you explain a junior official issuing a show-cause notice concerning work that was earlier hailed as a model of community participation by his senior?"

Trapped in the past

IF SHAH Jahan's men were to return today to Makrana, from where the marble for the Taj Mahal was procured, they would have no problem recognising it. Little has changed in the small Aravalli town in Nagore district, which has become synonymous the world over with quality white marble: the town and its neighbourhood retain a medieval appearance.

Enzymes that came in from the cold

Author(s): P S Sandhu
Issue Date: Aug 31, 1993
MICROBES found in the Antarctic region may soon find application in several industries, especially breweries and bakeries, which will exploit the ability of these microorganisms to produce enzymes at low temperatures. Scientists at Hyderabad's Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) found these microbes produce appreciable amounts of enzymes even at room temperature.

A close look at mining fallouts

• The area being mined has gone up 36.5 times in the past 20 years and as a result, forest cover in the area has declined from 237.8 sq km in 1971 to 127.7 sq km. • In 1971, the entire forest cover of 237.8 sq km was classified as dense forest. Now, only 28 sq km is under dense forest and about 73 sq km is degraded forest.

RASH OF EPIDEMICS

Issue Date: Aug 31, 1993
NEW STRAINS of diarrhoea, malaria and cholera are spreading rapidly in South Asia, adding to the burden of health care systems that are already stretched to breaking point.

Terms of relief

Issue Date: Aug 31, 1993
The proposed revision of the coal ministry's rehabilitation package may have raised the hopes of people displaced by coal mining projects, only to shatter them again. Given the reluctance of the state governments to dole out more money for rehabilitation, there is little hope of the proposal coming through.

Relentless rains wreak havoc in South Asia

Author(s): Binod Bhattarai
Issue Date: Aug 31, 1993

Sunflower relish

Issue Date: Aug 31, 1993
The suspicion that the exotic Mexican beetle (Zigogramma bicolorata) may be causing more harm than good has been confirmed by the Union agriculture ministry. The ministry's plant protection adviser, R L Rajak, has asked agricultural universities to stop immediately multiplication and distribution of the species. The beetle was introduced in India in 1983 to control biologically the rampant weed, parthenium.

Digging their own grave

Author(s): Uday Shankar
Issue Date: Aug 31, 1993
WITH THE run-up to the assembly elections under way in Rajasthan, one would expect senior politicians to be busy plotting campaign strategy -- and not be immersed in the problems of mining in the Aravallis. But their concern is not surprising, given the fact that mining has become one of the major issues in the elections, which are to be held later this year.

Eucalyptus exonerated

Issue Date: Aug 31, 1993
DOES eucalyptus harm soil? Environmentalists who say it does may be barking up the wrong tree, says a recent study.
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