Published: Thursday 28 February 2002

The Supreme Court recently slapped a fine of Rs 10,000 on the Union environment ministry for showing laxity in probing the disappearance of huge quantity of hazardous waste oil from major ports.

The Sikkim Forest Department arrested a person on charges of smuggling medicinal plants from Borong recently. The team recovered 10 sacks containing Chirayto and one sack of Majito from a jeep heading towards Siliguri. The culprit later confessed that the medicinal plants were collected from the villagers of Karzee Magnam at throwaway prices.

The Goa government is considering making HIV test mandatory for couples before registration of marriages. The suggestion came from speaker Pratap Singh Rane, and chief minister Manohar Parrikar has welcomed the move.

Residents of the tribal belt of Dungarpur, Banswada and Udaipur in Rajasthan are suffering from fluorosis. The sealing of step-wells -- once a source of surface water -- has precipitated the situation. It has led to the use of handpumps to draw groundwater contaminated with fluoride.

The Orissa government is intending to reimpose a ban on the use of non-iodised salts. Debi Prasad Mishra, minister of state for health, said the state's goitre-prevalence rate was as high as 19.34 per cent, prompting the government to enforce the regulation again.

The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) has decided to involve non-governmental organisations and the Indian Bird Conservation Network to monitor the population of Gyps species of vultures in 17 protected areas of India from April 2002.

Considering the prevalent leopard menace in the northern parts of Pune district, Maharashtra forest minister Surupsinh Naik has said that the forest officials can now shoot down leopards which pose a threat to human lives.

Farmers from Karnataka recently took out a procession demanding supply of uninterrupted quality power for 18 hours a day to rural areas.

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