INDIA

 
Published: Tuesday 15 September 1998

Haryana is in the grip of a severe drought. The principal Kharif crops such as jowar, bajra and gawar have been totally destroyed. Paddy and sugarcane crops have suffered a serious setback in the rest of Haryana because of inadequate supply of canal water.

A recent World Bank study shows that lack of mangroves and other types of vegetation along the coastal regions of Kutch and Saurashtra in Gujarat was a major reason for the destruction caused by the cyclonic storm that hit the region in July.

Large-scale deforestation and encroachment in the forest areas of Sonitpur district near the Assam-Arunachal border are causing serious problems for the state government.

The Union ministry of environment and forests (MEF) will launch a taxonomical research project in order to preserve various lower life forms and help sustain biodiversity of the country, says Vinod Vaish of the MEF.

India is expected to achieve self-reliance in cartography - the science of mapping - by the year 2000 after the launch of the CARTOSATI satellite by the Indian Space Research Organisation from its SHAR centre, located north of Chennai.

Researchers have used distillery wastes and micro-organisms to develop a low-cost method of producing biodegradable plastics. The technology is now awaiting transfer to industries. It can easily substitute petrochemical-based industrial polymers whose non-degradable property makes their disposal difficult, according to researchers at the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, Nagpur.

The tiger population in Orissa forests is declining fast, according to data provided by the state's forest department. The tiger population in the 32 forest divisions of the state has come down to 198 from 226 during 1993-98.

Historical evidence shows that basmati was developed in India about 250 years ago, and was grown in many parts of the country, according to Y L Nene, chairperson of the Asian Agri-History Foundation, Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh.

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