South Asia

Published: Wednesday 28 February 2007

No small buses Sri Lanka's Western Province Transport Authority has decided to bid farewell to the minibuses with less than 26 seats, which are still transporting passengers on the roads of the Western Province. The authority has set June 30, 2007, as the final deadline.

It further plans to provide a Value Added Tax concession of Rs 400,000 to 500,000 for small bus owners to buy new buses. There is a fleet of 18,000 private buses in the country and 6,700 of them operate within the Western Province, while another 3,000 enter the Province's roads every day from other parts of Sri Lanka.

For rural Nepal A cheap and easy technique will now help rural Nepalese protect their houses from earthquakes, researchers announced during the recent celebration of Nepal's earthquake day.

The method, developed by scientists from the Nepal Institute of Engineering's Center for Disaster Studies, fortifies stone and unfired bricks with mud and bamboo, which are easily available locally. The method works by punching a one-meter square grid of holes in the wall and covering it with a bamboo net from both the sides. Then they take gabion wire, insert in the holes to fasten the net and later cover the holes with mud to protect the net.

Scientists say since the wire is the only direct cost involved, the technology would cost the rural people somewhere between us $20-30 per house.

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