sky's the limit: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is going to launch a European satellite into orbit from its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle by the end of 2005. ISRO chief Madhavan Nair said this would be the first EU satellite to be launched by the country. The organisation recently won a US $10-million contract for the purpose.
coke row spills over: The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) has charged the bottling plant of Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Private Limited (HCBPL) at Kaladera, near Jaipur in Rajasthan, with indiscriminately exploiting groundwater from deeper aquifers and causing ecological imbalance in the area. The CGWB conducted investigations in the area following a directive of the Union ministry of water resources. Significantly, the company's bottling plant at Plachimada in Kerala was also prevented from extracting groundwater following a high court order (see: 'Coke restrained', Down To Earth, March 31, 2004).
assam greener: In a commendable effort, Assam has added 40,000 hectares to its forest cover this year. The state's minister for environment and forests, Pradyut Bordoloi, declared this recently. He added that according to the latest report of the Forest Survey of India, which comes under the Union ministry of environment and forests, Assam's current forest cover stands at 35.3 per cent. The national forest cover is 20 per cent.
hope in the air: The residents of Lucknow will soon breathe easy. The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) formed by the Supreme Court has fixed December 31, 2005, as the deadline for tempo/taxis, buses/minibuses and autorickshaws of the city to switch over to compressed natural gas (CNG). The expert body has also asked the Gas Authority of India Limited to speedily install the infrastructure for the distribution of CNG in Lucknow.
china miffed: A Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) general has condemned a recent US suggestion to Taiwan's military to target the Three Gorges Dam -- the world's biggest hydropower project -- to protect itself from any attack from the Chinese mainland. The suggestion was made in the annual report of the US Congress on China's military power in May 2004. PLA lieutenant general Liu Yuan said his country will be on guard.
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