South Asia

  • 29/06/2006

radioactive wastes: A Pakistani senator recently accused the country's nuclear authorities of dumping radioactive waste near a village in the Punjab province causing cancer, miscarriages, and infertility among villagers and livestock. Senator Sardar Jamal Khan Leghari said tonnes of contaminated waste from uranium processing had been dumped outside abandoned mines in Baghalchur village by the country's two prime nuclear institutions, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) and Kahuta Research Laboratory. Local people, too, believe the radioactive nuclear waste was brought in by the PAEC and dumped by their staff wearing full protective gear. PAEC strongly refuted the accusation and said that waste was stored only in underground tunnels and caves, posing no danger to the environment.

sour mangoes: A sudden hike in import duty on mangoes by Bangladesh has hit farmers in West Bengal's Malda district. Bangladesh has raised its import duty on Indian mangoes by more than 50 per cent. With the sudden hike in duty, the price of Malda mangoes will now increase to Rs 13.50 per kg from the prevailing rate of Rs 8 to Rs 8.50 per kg. This will affect 13 or 14 varieties of mangoes that are exported from the region. The price hike is holding up a fleet of mango-laden trucks at the Indo-Bangladesh border. Malda farmers depend on Bangladesh, which imports almost 90 per cent of its mangoes. This year, the total production of Malda is pegged at around 2.5 lakh tonnes, of which an estimated 2.2 lakh tonnes was to be exported to Bangladesh.

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