In short

Published: Wednesday 31 May 2006

new polio cases: At least 17 polio cases have surfaced in India, in the first four months of 2006, making it the second most polio-prone country in the world. The cases occurred in two states: 12 in Uttar Pradesh and five in Bihar. What worries health experts is the risk of polio eradication failing in India. The country had set 2005 as the target year to wipe out the disease. But now the country appears to be nowhere near the target, despite huge funds spent over awareness campaigns as a part of the polio-eradication programme supported by the World Health Organization. In 2002, the number of polio cases in the country was pegged at 1,600. The number of cases has seen a steep decline from then: 225 in 2003, 134 in 2004 and 66 in 2005.

mysterious fever: At least 900 people were affected by a mysterious fever that gripped Gujarat's Jamnagar district in mid April. According to the Jamnagar district administration, the viral fever first hit the coastal town of Salaya and then spread to other areas. The district administration set up several medical teams and launched a door-to-door cleanliness and sanitation drive to control the situation.

cement prices: Building contractors in Maharashtra have invoked the price-escalation clause against the rise in cement prices. They are demanding that the state should bear the increased cost. The price-escalation clause is a part of the agreement signed between the contractors and the government for the construction of 48 small, medium and major irrigation projects under engineering, procurement and construction schemes in the next five years. The clause specifies that the contractors will bear the price rise in cement, steel and diesel for up to five per cent. But if the price increases beyond five per cent, the state will bear the additional cost, says the agreement.

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