Published: Thursday 31 January 2002

For effective development and utilisation of its natural resources, the Orissa government intends to draft a mineral policy soon. Along with this, the state also wants to formulate a gems policy to tap its vast gem reserves.

Around 4,000 villagers of Gondriala in Kodad mandal of Nalgonda district in Andhra Pradesh are suffering from diseases caused by high content of fluoride in drinking water. Skeletal fluorosis has crippled children aged between four and eight.

The Union government has said it will be amending the Insecticides Act to give it more teeth. The regulation will now be in tune with the times wherein the procedure for registration of pesticides by the manufacturers will be streamlined.

A group of voluntary organisations has found that over two lakh children die in Maharashtra every year. The study states that the child mortality rate in Maharashtra is at 82.9 per cent, the highest in the country.

Large-scale encroachment and unabated tree felling in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh are causing a human-elephant conflict. Also threatened is the land area of 13 reserve forests in Sonitpur district of Assam, which has been reduced by two-thirds.

The state cabinet of Uttaranchal has approved its new forest policy aiming to develop ecotourism and preserve the state's precious wildlife and bio-diversity. The government has decided to develop one forest each in all the 15,000 villages of the state in a bid to stop depleting forest cover, Uttaranchal principal secretary RS Tolia said.

The Kasargod district administration will render medical help to people who are suffering from various ailments caused by spraying a pesticide called endosulfan in 12 panchayats in this district of Kerala.

A zonal review in West Bengal's Burdwan, Bankura and Purulia by the HIV surveillance committee has confirmed that of the 1,32,000 people tested for HIV in the last one year in these districts, 3,200 have been tested positive. Of the 3,200 antenatal mothers checked, five tested HIV positive.

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