Please act: The Supreme Court issued a notice to the Union government on January 3, 2004, in response to a petition by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) that seeks a thorough examination of the contents of soft drinks. The petition points out that despite extensive research proving that the contents of these drinks are harmful, the government has not taken any action in this regard. These products are being marketed extensively, it says, and asserts that it is the government's duty to protect the lives of people. The petition seeks strict guidelines and rules to regulate the manufacturing process of soft drinks. It also calls for making the manufacturers of these drinks disclose their contents and harmful effects.
Too late?: The Karnataka government has filed a review petition before the High Court to protect 16,187 hectares of the forests of Western Ghats near Mangalore. The destruction of these lands in Belthangadi taluk began in 1957 when they were purchased by M/S Y Mohideen Kunhi and Company, a partnership firm. When the Karnataka Land Reforms Act came into force in 1974, prohibiting such firms from holding forest land, the firm got the land holdings certified as plantations, which were exempted from the prohibition. The government filed a writ petition against this in 1983 but the case was dismissed in 1990. In the meantime, several tree-felling permits were given to the firm. Now, after 14 years, the petition demands that the land should be surrendered to the state.
People first: On January 5, 2004, the Supreme Court allowed felling of trees in the forests of Andaman and Nicobar Islands to facilitate the rehabilitation of Tsunami victims. The administration can now use timber and forest produce like bamboo to construct houses for the victims. The ban has been relaxed for six months but felling is still prohibited in areas up to 1,000 metres from the seashore and in the national park and sanctuary and the mangrove forest.
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