The West Bengal government has introduced a water pricing policy for affluent users and industries. Accordingly, they will not only have to pay the operation and maintenance costs of running a water supply system, but also help the municipalities generate a surplus.

Urban Environmental Maps of Shimla, a report prepared by the Academy for Mountain Environics, Dehra Dun, was recently released in Shimla. The report will help identify specific programmes to deal with the serious problems of water supply and solid waste management.

A global observation and research workstation to be set up in Pune in a couple of months will help India contribute to global research by identifying ozone layer depletion in the country. The centre is being established with the assistance of the Instituto Nacional De Tecnica Aerospacial of Spain, a leading research centre in atmospheric sciences.

According to a report on the drought situation in Madhya Pradesh, almost all 45 districts in the state are likely to face water scarcity conditions in the summer season this year. About 6i,000 villages spread over 24 districts are already facing a severe water crisis.

With a view to regulating the removal, storage and transplant of human organs for medical purposes and preventing their commercial dealings, the Jammu and Kashmir government passed the Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1997, last month.

A bill drafted by the Union government aims at setting up a central energy conservation authority to manage the conservation of electrical and fossil fuel energy. The proposed authority will be a central body with coordinating agencies at the state level. The bill also includes provisions for the constitution of an energy conservation fund.

Assam has witnessed a sharp increase in the number of tuberculosis (TB) patients in recent years. According to state health department figures, there are now more than 82,000 TB patients in the state. In 1995-96, around 20,619 new cases were detected, while 140 people had died of TB.

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