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India

Bhopal gas victims fade into the background

FOR THE candidates of Bhopal (North) constituency, the area worst affected by the gas leak in 1984, relief for the victims seems to be a non-issue. Congress candidate Rasool Ahmad Siddique smugly declares voters are "satisfied with the relief they are getting" and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Ramesh Sharma says, "These elections are about national issues."

Pastoralists at the crossroads

Issue Date: Dec 15, 1993
PASTORALISTS are a vanishing breed the world over. These herders of sheep and cattle have a key role to play in the rehabilitation and sustainable management of fragile ecosystems. India has 34 million pastoralists managing a livestock population of more than 50 million. Apart from producing milk, meat, leather and wool and providing animals for traction and manure for agriculture, livestock rearing earns foreign exchange from exports.

Stuck in small pockets

GREEN issues came to the fore in several colonies of Delhi. But, for inexplicable reasons, metropolis-wide environmental issues such as the rapidly increasing air pollution, were ignored. Some of the city's otherwise articulate middle-class even accepted the problem of vehicular pollution as fait accompli. Says O P Sharda, president of the Greater Kailash I Residents' Association: "What can we do about pollution? Who will agree to take the polluting vehicles off the road?"

North rejects India's plea

Author(s): Ravi Sharma
Issue Date: Dec 15, 1993
THE EXECUTIVE committee of the Ozone Fund -- an international fund instituted to replace ozone-depleting substances (ODS) -- has rejected India's request for a $2 billion grant to replace these substances by 2010. Northern donor countries felt India's plan lacked detailed information and also projected a ten-fold increase in ODS consumption till 1997.

The right issue, the wrong place

ONE RARE case of an environmental issue spreading out and influencing an election campaign in two constituencies is that of Betwa river pollution in Madhya Pradesh. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate for Vidisha and the Congress candidate for nearby Sanchi tried to cash in on the issue, cleverly using agitations and polemics. But in neighbouring Bhojpur, where former chief minister Sunderlal Patwa and Arjun Singh's son Ajay Singh clashed, the villages worst-hit by the river pollution had little say.

Mistaken intentions

Issue Date: Dec 15, 1993
When a team of young French civil servants selected by the Paris-based Foundation Nationale Entreprise et Performance (FNEP) visited India in the second week of November, the media was quick to assume they had come to India with a technology offer. A press release from an apex industry organisation further confused the issue when it declared that the team was "keen to tie up with Indian entrepreneurs to train Indian personnel on environment and pollution abatement".

Wind for BHEL's sails

Issue Date: Dec 15, 1993
Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) has entered into a technical collaboration with Nordex A/S of Denmark in a major effort to expand its wind-powered electricity generation equipment. BHEL has its eye on the plans of the Union ministry of non-conventional energy resources to install 800 MW of wind-generated electricity in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu during the Eighth Plan (1991-97).

A tinge of green

Issue Date: Dec 15, 1993
IN INDIA, environment is hardly an election topic. No one expects political parties to make environment a plank and neither do most voters base their decisions on ecological promises.

Turmeric shields

Issue Date: Dec 15, 1993
TURMERIC -- the age-old panacea for headaches, pimples and fractured limbs -- could also keep cancer away, say scientists at the Hyderabad-based National Institute of Nutrition. Kamala Krishnaswamy and her colleagues have recently reported that curcumin, the active ingredient of turmeric (Curcuma longa), which is known to have an anti-cancer effect in animals, can also decrease the presence of cancer-inducing elements, or mutagens, in humans.

'Spare parts' for sale

Author(s): Arvind Kala
Issue Date: Dec 15, 1993
THERE'S an unanticipated hurdle to the Indian government's Transplantation of Human Organs Bill (THOB), 1992, which allows collection of organs for transplant from bodies of accident victims and "brain-dead" individuals with the permission of their next-of-kin. The government seems not to have realised that, in a backward country like India, will grieving relatives allow doctors to remove organs from the body?
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