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India

Inaction irks MEF

Issue Date: May 31, 1994
CONCERNED at the lack of action by 2 Delhi agencies on the Yamuna Action Plan launched in June last year, the Union ministry of environment and forests (MEF) has decided to refer the matter to the prime minister.

Power to the people

Issue Date: May 31, 1994
THE country took a big step towards giving more power to the people with the Panchayati Raj Act becoming operational on April 23 following all states and Union territories amending their respective legislations in conformity with the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act. Said minister for rural development Rameshwar Thakur, "This will place more powers in the hands of the rural people so that they can determine their own destiny."

Empowering the Disabled

Issue Date: May 31, 1994
A SPASTIC is one who suffers from cerebral palsy, an impairment of the muscle control centres of the brain, rendering ordinary activities like speaking, swallowing and walking very difficult. More often than not, a narrow social outlook is responsible for the isolated existence of these children affected by this condition.

Just shifting the issue

Issue Date: May 31, 1994
THE complaints kept pouring in. For the past few months, residents of Siraspur village in North Delhi had badgered the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) about noxious fumes emanating from illegal cottage lead smelters in their locality. A CPCB team paid a "surprise visit" to the area on May 2, only to find the premises deserted and the shutters up.

Surviving on wood

Author(s): Manu N Kulkarni
Issue Date: May 31, 1994
THE TRAIN from Londa to Dharwar on the Miraj-Bangalore metre gauge in Karnataka passes through the jungles on the fringe of the Western Ghats. I asked my co-passengers, Hussainbi and Moinbi, a mother-daughter duo which is responsible for denuding these jungles. They are both headloaders. For the past 15 years, they have sold thousands of tonnes of fuelwood from these jungles around Dharwar -- a sleepy district town which has produced celebrities like Girish Karnad, Mallikarjun Mansoor and Bhimsen Joshi.

Linking up to stay afloat

Issue Date: May 31, 1994
DEOLI had seen nothing like it. On April 25, over 500 villagers took out a rally through this small township in the Tonk district of Rajasthan, under the banner of the Samanvay Samiti, Bisalpur Bandh Doob Kshetra. They were protesting against the inadequacy of rehabilitation measures for the Bisalpur Drinking Water Supply-cum-Irrigation Project of the Rajasthan irrigation department.

Emasculating chemicals

Issue Date: May 31, 1994
IN A case unprecedented in the annals of medical science, 10 workers in a Nasik paint factory became infertile due to exposure to some chemicals used in the manufacturing process.

'Development paradigms should match tribal culture'

Issue Date: May 31, 1994
What have been the major sources of inspiration for your poetry? My experiences in my village. The school in which I studied was across the river from my village, and ferrying across was a normal thing, just as swimming was. Memories of the many moods of the river, the nights without electricity, the tambourines and mridangams used during worship, all influenced my poems. My father's recitations from classical and medieval Oriya texts and the Mahabharata also influenced me a lot.

A greenscape goes black

Author(s): Uma Shankar
Issue Date: May 15, 1994
MEGHALAYA faces a new threat: the wholesale degradation of its air, soil and water by coal mining. It is damaging the greenscape through indiscriminate felling, excavations, tunnelling and the dumping of debris. In blind pursuit of black gold, mine operators ignore the essential harmony of the environment and continue to accelerate the pace of mutilating terrain by quarrying wider and deeper into forests and cultivable land.

Spotlight on a scientist

Issue Date: May 15, 1994
PERHAPS the most interesting aspect of the speculation in the press about A P J Abdul Kalam Khan's continued association with India's missile development programme was the relatively high degree of public interest evoked by it. Other contemporary gossip about the country's scientific establishment had no such popular appeal.
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