In short

Published: Sunday 15 March 2009

Asbestos free schools: Paving the way for a complete ban on asbestos and its products, Kerala Human Rights Commission said "exposing Indians to asbestos is a human rights violation". It asked the state government to phase out asbestos roofs from all schools and replace them with country tiles. The ruling was in response to a petition that said roofing school buildings with asbestos is hazardous to children's health. Ban Asbestos Network of India has appealed to the National Human Rights Commission to adopt the Kerala Human Rights Commission's order with immediate effect.

Heritage status: The Botanical Survey of India has identified three areas in Madhya Pradesh as potential biodiversity heritage sites. Pachmadhi is a hill station, while Patalkot and Ajaygadh are forest areas. The state biodiversity board is preparing an inventory of the flora and fauna in these areas.

"These sites have a sizeable tribal population," said A K Jain, member secretary of the board. "Though the scale of rehabilitation is yet to be estimated, rehabilitation procedures and packages will be determined according to the Biodiversity Act 2002," said Jain. The status will give legal protection to the regions' vulnerable biodiversity and make the conservation process easier, he said.

Dwindling tigers: About three tigers are left in the Panna National Park in Madhya Pradesh, said the latest census by the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun. In 2008, the institute had estimated the number of tigers at 24 in Panna. The Kaziranga National Park in Assam, which boasted of 70 tigers, has reported nine tiger deaths between December 2008 and February 2009. Park officials attributed the deaths to old age and poisoning by communities living near the park.

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