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India State of Environment Report: The Monthly Overview, September, 2013

ENVIRONMENT

The new report issued on September 27 by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says with much more certainty that humanity is causing climate change. India has voluntarily undertaken — without legal binding — to reduce emissions intensity of its GDP by 20-25% by 2020 and has a comprehensive National Action Plan on Climate Change for domestic mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. India has got support of three other powerful nations - Brazil, South Africa and China - in getting its position endorsed that the country will not phase out HFC unless there is availability of safe and economically viable alternatives. A new climate change study released by Anna University predicts a 3.5 degree Celsius temperature rise in Tamil Nadu by the end of this century. Several environmentally unfriendly projects in Assam and North East are being touted as sustainable, receiving funds under UN's Clean Development Mechanism, wreaking havoc to the eco-system and the people in its vicinity.

The Supreme Court admonished the government for failing to set up an independent environmental regulator, which the prime minister promised to set up in 2011 and asked the environment ministry, which currently has all regulatory powers, to give an explanation in four weeks. The Kerala government has decided to appeal against two national green tribunal orders that said that the government should take note and adhere to the recommendations of the Western Ghats Expert Ecology Panel (WGEEP) report while approving private and commercial development in eco-sensitive zones.

Two years ago, the Mt Abu collector with the initiative of social workers and NGOs decided to ban plaster of paris lord Ganesha idols to save the environment as well as the Nakki lake where the idols are immersed. All the idols in Mt Abu are especially prepared in Ahmedabad from clay and vegetable colours. According to the Pollution Control Board Assam (PCBA) guidelines issued by the board recently, only natural clay, bamboo, choir ropes, straw and non-toxic colours can be used on the idols instead of baked clay, plaster of Paris and synthetic ropes, which adversely affect the environment.

UK-based University of Northampton has tied up with Madras University to offer a Master's degree in International Environment Management. R. Thandavam, Vice-Chancellor, Madras University, said the one-year M.Sc course has been loosely structured to allow those in employment obtain a UK degree while working.

LAND, AGRICULTURE, GRAZING LANDS AND ANIMAL CARE

The Centre has allotted Rs 72.27 crore to the state under the National Agricultural Development Scheme for development of the agriculture sector during the current financial year. The National Agricultural Innovation Project (NAIP) has proved to be a windfall for farmers of villages in Vindhya region. The World-Bank funded project has resulted in a jump in monthly income from Rs 5,000 to Rs 18,000 in selected villages. The Maharashtra government has received Rs 1,100 crore funds from the Union government under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) for carrying out various programmes in the agricultural sector with an aim to improve infrastructure, water supply schemes and soil conservation. The Karnataka government launched an agricultural marketing policy aimed at fostering competition, capacity building, bringing in transparency and ushering in an era of single unified licence.

The cotton crop in Haryana is under the worst attack of whiteflies and Cotton Leaf Curl Virus (CLCuV) this year. The groundnut crop has been damaged by pest attack in Jharsuguda district of Orissa.

The historic Land Acquisition Bill moved another step closer to becoming a law with Rajya Sabha approving the legislation which seeks to provide fair and just compensation to farmers and to those who lose livelihood on account of acquisition. While amending the law to allow continued possession of farm land to about 3700 farmers who faced eviction, the Haryana Assembly unanimously passed a resolution appealing to the Gujarat Government to stop the process of displacement farmers of Punjab and Haryana origin from the Rann of Kutch. The Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) announced a new policy on leasing its land. The lease will be short term for three to five years, while lease rentals will be 10% of the prevailing market value per annum.

The Rajya Sabha discussed and passed the National Food Security Bill after the Government assured the elders that all existing schemes for public distribution will be protected under the new law. Congress-ruled states like Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Mizoram and Delhi have already started implementing the National Food Security Act.

The deadly foot-and-mouth disease, which claimed over 700 cattle this year in Karnataka, is becoming a major cause of worry.

MINING

Despite the National Green Tribunal's ban on all mining activities in the country on August 5, stone crushers and brick kilns continue to flourish in Himachal Pradesh. The National Green Tribunal sought response of Rajasthan government on a plea seeking to involve it as a party in a case dealing with non-forest activity like mining in the Aravalli range. The Allahabad High Court directed district magistrate, Allahabad, to take action in pursuance of the report on illegal mining of Silica sand. Contrary to the Punjab government's claims of having effectively controlled illegal mining in the state, unauthorised mining continues unabated in Khijrabad village near Mohali. A Public Interest Litigation (PIL), registered, has alleged large-scale and unabated illegal limestone mining in Porbandar with the complicity of State Agriculture Minister Babu Bokhiria, who was convicted in an illegal limestone mining case in June this year.

After 12 gram sabhas completely rejected bauxite mining in the Niyamgiri hills, Vedanta is now looking beyond the area to source raw material for its Rs 5,000 crore Lanjigarh alumina refinery in Orissa and is hopeful of securing an alternate mine soon.

The Supreme Court heard a batch of petitions from Septembe17 onwards and sought lifting of ban on iron-ore mining in Goa which was halted last October on the basis of the report of the Justice M B Shah Commission. Taking note of Goa's plea of "zero tolerance" against illegal mining, the Supreme Court asked the state government as to why there was no regulatory mechanism in place to check illegal iron ore extraction.

After illegal beach sand mining was reported from Tuticorin district, the Tamil Nadu government formed a special committee to probe the issue in a month's time. Tamil Nadu government ordered a probe to ascertain if irregularities have occurred in 71 large mineral quarries engaged in extraction of beach minerals in the state and suspended operations till its completion. The Karnataka government has set in motion the process to reallot or auction iron ore mines under Category C as per the direction of the Supreme Court. The government earlier this month issued cancellation orders to 51 mining leases.

Four north-eastern state governments - Tripura, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur are unhappy with the National Green Tribunal's (NGT) ruling that bans sand mining in river beds across the country without the clearance of Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed Meghalaya government to furnish the reports of the National Disaster Response Force and the FIR registered regarding a July 2012 mining accident that allegedly killed 15 miners.

Mineral rich states have been asked to expedite formation of empowered panels on the pattern of an inter-ministerial committee at Centre to check the menace of illegal mining. Barring Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu no other state has constituted such state-level empowered committee (SLEC), the Centre said in a communication to states. The National Green Tribunal issued directions upon all states and UTs to ensure brick kiln owners indulging in brick-earth quarrying must obtain environmental clearances from the Union environment ministry.

WATER RESOURCES AND FISHERIES

The National Green Tribunal set up a committee to draft an extensive plan to deal with illegal extraction of groundwater in Delhi. The large-scale urbanisation has taken its toll on the groundwater resources in the districts falling in the National Capital Region (NCR) of Haryana. While painting a gloomy picture on the exploitation of groundwater, the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) has termed 31 zones as "dark zones" (over-exploited areas). As many as 157 illegal bore-wells and tube-wells in various colonies in Gurgaon have been dismantled and sealed and First Information Reports have been registered against their owners during the past one year. For the first time in the country, Heliborne Geophysical Survey (HGS) will be conducted in Dausa district of Rajasthan, to map water pools beneath ground, popularly known as aquifer. The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) is making serious plans to preserve ground water. More than 100 illegal borewells have been detected by the revenue department in Hyderabad and the adjoining areas, resulting in rapid depletion of ground water. A comprehensive law is on the anvil in Tamil Nadu to regulate groundwater resources.

Delhi seems to have lost half of its lakes since 1997-98. Natural heritage scientists from The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (Intach) recently presented these findings at the annual meeting of Society of Wetland Scientists held in Minnesota. These findings are based on their own ground level survey and comparisons with remote-sensing based and Survey of India khasra maps of 1997-98. To restore the renowned Khajiar lake in Chamba to its original shape, principal bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT) at Shimla formed a seven members team headed by Principal Chief Conservator of Forests with the direction to file a report within four weeks suggesting steps to save the lake from further deterioration. Tribunal has fixed November 21 as next date of hearing. Madhya Pradesh along with Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan states have been directed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to prepare a detailed project report (DPR) about measures taken to save water bodies from the effects of idols made up of plaster of paris (PoP) immersed in them. The central zonal bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has instructed Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) to remove solid waste in and around Shahpura Lake in every 24 hours. The Karnataka High Court has issued a contempt notice to the state's Chief Secretary, S. V. Ranganath, for not constituting Lake Protection Committees as directed. In a move to address the pollution caused by houseboats, the Kerala government has decided to introduce a mobile sewage treatment plant in the Vembanad lake.

The Bihar government will move a bill in the winter session of the state legislature to prohibit fishing without obtaining licences. After the Khasi Hills now it's the Garo Hills turn to have its own Eco Fish Hatchery under Meghalaya State Aquaculture Mission, which was inaugurated by Meghalaya Power Minister Clement R Marak at Amindagre under Gambegre C&RD Block in West Garo Hills on September 3, 2013.

DAMS

The Cabinet has decided to frame a special policy in Himachal Pradesh for regularisation of encroachments by the Bhakra Dam oustees in the New Bilaspur township. The Himachal Pradesh government has framed a water draft policy-2013, which suggests setting up of " water adalats" and adoption of traditional techniques like mulching or pitcher irrigation through capacity building. Hundreds of dam-hit villagers from Khandwa, Dewas and Harda districts and Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) activist Chittaroopa Palit were arrested in Madhya Pradesh when they kicked off their jal satyagraha to raise the issue of villagers affected by the Indira Sagar dam. The Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) has constructed more than 16,000 small earth dams and check-dams in the catchment area of the Damodar river and its tributaries to save rainwater.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has given two weeks' time to the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) for filing a response on a plea seeking implementation of rainwater harvesting systems in all Delhi Metro stations. It warned that if respondents failed to deliver, they will have to pay Rs 10,000 each. An NGO has opened a special cell in Aurangabad, to promote water harvesting in 11 districts through its volunteers. The NGO aims to carry out around 5,000 water harvesting projects. The organisation plans to achieve a target of 3,000 to 5,000 RWH projects in 11 districts - the eight districts of Marathwada, Satara, Solapur and Karad. The Karnataka Government will initiate steps to rejuvenate around 12,000 tanks in rural areas.

Seeking to counter Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, Karnataka government defended its proposal to build a reservoir across the Cauvery river at Mekedatu to generate hydro-electric power, saying it is in conformity with the final order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal. The Himachal Pradesh government has set up an 11-member committee to address the problems faced by small hydropower projects developers, as the state has been able to realise only 225 MW of the total 1,500-MW small hydropower potential in the past two decades. The Uttarakhand Government is seeking forest clearance for the 300 MW Lakhwar hydroelectric power project even after the Supreme Court on August 13 directed the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and the State Government not to grant clearance for hydroelectric power projects in the State until further orders. The proposed mega Siang project (stage I and II) over Siang river has ran into rough weather with the public of Upper and East Siang districts in Arunachal Pradesh, opposing the projects claiming that they would jeopardize the existence of the indigenous people of the area.

The UPA government filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court, saying it wanted to implement the Sethusamudram project through the original alignment, cutting across the Ram Sethu. The environmental groups have called for an immediate joint Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) by Sri Lankan and Indian authorities on the proposed Sethusamudram project.

FORESTS

The National Green Tribunal has sought responses of the Centre and Haryana government on a plea alleging non-compliance of its order and directions regarding non-forest activity in the Aravalli hills region of the state. Keeping in view the depleting green cover and ecological imbalances, Allahabad Municipal Corporation and the forest department are working on a project to provide green belt to the city. According to the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), Bihar has a recorded forest area of 6,473sq km which is just 6.87 per cent of its total geographical area. Coimbatore-based Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding (IFGTB) has launched a project on a 60-hectare extent in the Andamans and it is in the process of successfully converting the teak and padauk plantations into near natural forests.

The National Green Tribunal has ordered an interim stay on cutting of trees in Manger village in Aravalli hills on a plea for withdrawing permission granted by authorities for non-forestry activities there. The National Green Tribunal restrained the Uttar Pradesh government from cutting trees in the pilgrimage town of Govardhan in Mathura district.

The Maharashtra government has decided to amend rules under the Indian Forest Act (IFA) 1927 to make them more adaptable and people-friendly besides ensuring effective conservation of forests. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy agreed to strengthen forest department security by sanctioning 40 additional armed police parties.

The Haryana Urban Development Authority is planning to start a month-long drive against violators encroaching greenbelts in the residential and commercial areas in Gurgaon city. Citing extensive damage to infrastructure from the floods in June this year, Uttarakhand has urged the Central government to further relax green norms to allow it to divert, without prior clearances, up to 5 hectares of forest land to rebuild roads. A latest ground report compiled by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests revealed that 3, 30,400.00 hectares of forest land in Assam, has been encroached upon by illegal settlers as on last year.

POLLUTION

The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has lifted the moratorium on industrial expansion in 10 industrial clusters under the Central Pollution Control Board's (CPCB) critically polluted areas. With this, only seven areas are now left under the regulations, out of the 43 clusters initially. Industrial associations of Gautam Budh Nagar have complained to the district administration that large numbers of illegal manufacturing units operating from villages in Noida are causing unbridled pollution in the area. Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board was pulled up by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for allowing Rathi Steel, a ruthless polluting industry, to continue operating for the last 10 years in Ghaziabad. A pollution index by Numbeo, updated every week, is currently featuring four Indian cities in the 25 most polluted places in the world. In fact, the city of Lucknow takes the lead with the number one spot. Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) has ordered six industrial units of Jhaghadia, Panoli and Dahej to stop productions with immediate effect and directed disconnection of water and electricity supply to them. The regional office of the Odisha State Pollution Control Board sealed some of units of Bhushan Power and Steel Limited at Thelkuli for allegedly violation of pollution norms. The Centre has lifted a moratorium on environment clearance for new industries in highly-polluting Haldia and Asansol after pollution controlling norms were complied with, West Bengal Environment Minister Sudarshan Ghosh Dastidar said.

More than 30 restaurants in the Hauz Khas area of Delhi, have been found to be operating without proper clearances, discharging effluents, drawing potable water and causing environmental hazards. This prompted the National Green Tribunal to direct their closure. Taking cognizance of pollution taking place in Beas river, National Green Tribunal ( NGT) has ordered to close 34 hotels, located in Kullu-Manali along river banks, found throwing its waste material in the river. Vapi and the industrial estate in south Gujarat in Valsad district has been rated by the Union ministry as being critically polluted after it found the quality of air, water, land and ground water not meeting desired standards. The Pune bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Goa government not to allow any more new offshore casinos functioning in large boats in the Mandovi river off Panaji, citing pollution issues. Jammu and Kashmir High Court directed the state government to seal all the hotels in Gulmarg tourist resort which have not installed Sewerage Treatment Plants (STP).

A recent study by Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, has found that the city's emissions, though considerable, are not alone responsible for the sudden peaks in particulate matter (PM 10) levels in it. Far-off sources in north India or even beyond India (within Asia) may be contributing as much as 24% of PM 10. Nearly three-fourths of Indian cities have particulate pollution (PM) levels exceeding permissible standards affecting the health of lakhs of people across the country, according to an analysis released. The analysis is part of a book 'Good News Bad News: Clearing the air in Indian cities' published by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) and released by senior Supreme Court advocate Harish Salve. Calcutta tops the country in exposure to toxic vehicular pollution, according to the findings of a study that transport experts from India and other south Asian countries discussed in Delhi.

FLOODS, DROUGHTS AND NATURAL DISASTERS

Over 17 lakh people have been hit by the floods in Uttar Pradesh, where the situation continued to remain grim with the swollen rivers inundating thousands of villages and the death toll in the deluge and other rain-related mishaps climbing to 280. Three months after flash floods and landslides devastated Uttarakhand, the state government has released the final list of 4,083 people — 2,293 men, 1,367 women and 423 children — who could not be traced in the aftermath of the tragedy. The toll in the devastating floods in Bihar rose to 201, said an official of the state disaster management department. More than three lakh people have been affected by the latest wave of floods in Assam.

The Bihar government declared drought in 33 of the 38 districts as the state has received 668.6 mm rainfall as against the annual average at 892.2 mm — a deficit of 28 per cent. The rainfall deficit in 15 of these 33 districts is as high as 60 per cent. The Karnataka government has declared as many as 80 taluks of 21 districts as drought affected this year, even as other parts continue to receive excess rainfall.

A low-intensity earthquake jolted the twin districts of Doda and Kishtwar in Jammu and Kashmir. The Indian Meteorological Department said the 4.4-magnitude quake hit the area at 1:36 pm. Since May 1 this year, Doda and Kishtwar districts have been witnessing moderate-intensity quakes. The electrical model of IITMSAT, the first satellite of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras, is almost ready. The 15-kg satellite that will attempt to study radiation belts on Earth and help in predicting earthquakes is the largest among all the satellites developed by the IITs till now.

Only 15 states have so far set up their own respective State Disaster Response Force following direction from the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) earlier this year. The Himachal Pradesh cabinet has decided to revise the norms for relief under Himachal Pradesh Disaster Management and Relief Manual 2012, enhancing the relief assistance provided to disaster affected persons in the state. The Karnataka government has decided to set up Disaster Response Forces (DRFs) in Bangalore, Mangalore, Belgaum and Gulbarga.

HABITAT

In a move environmentalists have called disastrous, the Delhi Development Authority has issued a public notice seeking to reduce the city's zone O — comprising Yamuna and the river front — by as much as 40% to pave the way for the regularization of various illegal settlements and constructions in this belt.Arunachal Pradesh government has approved in principle the revised city development plan for the State Capital for its planned growth and accelerated development.

Some of the developers and builders in Surat city have come forward to follow green building norms in their future projects. Mumbai has the country's maximum number of environment-friendly buildings under construction, a survey has shown. The Supreme Court directed the Maharashtra government and the Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) to respond within four weeks to a plea by Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society. The society requested that the National Green Tribunal (NGT) hear its objections to the order to demolish the 31-storey building passed by the MoEF in 2010.

The Environment and Forests Ministry has slapped a Rs. 200 crore penalty on Gautam Adani's Mundra multi-purpose projects for violating green laws. The order was issued after the Ministry accepted the report of the committee set up under Ms. Sunita Narain, director general of the Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed the Goa coastal zone management authority (GCZMA) to complete the hearing into the cases of alleged illegal structures within the CRZs of Morjim and Mandrem beaches, designated as turtle nesting sites, within five weeks. The Kerala Government has submitted a revised report of its environmental impact assessment study for the proposed Rs 4,000-crore international seaport project at Vizhinjam to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.

Keeping in view the growing number of vehicles plying in cities like Gurgaon and Faridabad, Haryana government has formulated a draft parking policy for smooth vehicular movement. Nashik will soon get the first set of 25 new buses under the central government's Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renovation Mission (JNNURM) scheme from its total quota of 200 buses, which have been allotted to the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC), Nashik division. Hailing Karnataka's efforts in providing better public transport system, the Centre sanctioned 2,104 buses to the State under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

Uttar Pradesh Forest Corporation (UPFC) has been made the nodal agency for promotion of eco-tourism in the state. The Varanasi unit of UP Tourism had chalked out plans for the promotion of eco-tourism in the region to attract tourists at natural sites in adjoining districts of Chandauli, Mirzapur and Sonbhadra, besides the city. In a major boost to the North-East tourism sector, Union Tourism Minister K Chiranjeevi has approved Central Finance Assistance (CFA) to various tourism development projects in the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Nagaland.

WATER SUPPLY AND SANITATION

Clean drinking water is out of reach for 4.64 crore people in rural areas in the country, says a report tabled by the Union water resources ministry in Parliament. In Rajasthan, 25,500 habitations or 1.09 crore people get water with chemical or bacterial contamination. Assam comes next with 12,879 rural habitations without safe drinking water, followed by Bihar with 10,587 households. UP Housing and Development Board has decided to make installation of sewer treatment plant and water-recycling project mandatory in all future housing projects on and above 2 acre land. As part of its plan to start 24x7 water supply in Goa, the government has drawn up an ambitious plan to reduce the state's non-revenue water (NRW) from a present 45% to 20% within a period of six years. The Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has stressed the need for enhancing drinking water supply in the rural areas of Jammu and Kashmir, besides introducing the piped water supply schemes (PWSS) in these areas.

Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) in Gujarat, has initiated the process of monitoring the solid waste management (SWM) vehicles using global positioning system (GPS). Indore bench of Madhya Pradesh high court ordered Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board (MPPCB) to submit a report on city's hygienic condition and action taken over poor garbage disposal. The Aurangabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) in Maharashtra, passed a resolution to charge a fee from all residential, commercial and institutional properties for handling solid waste. The much awaited door-to-door garbage collection and solid waste management project received green signal at the Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) standing committee meeting. The Arambol village panchayat formed a village-level garbage committee at a special gram sabha meeting held at the gram panchayat hall, making it the first panchayat in Pernem taluka of Goa, to make an effort to tackle the garbage menace.

Punjab government is taking all necessary measures to implement biomedical waste management and handling system as 173 hospitals working under Punjab Health Systems Corporation have implemented it in the state, a government spokesman said. Bio-waste is posing a serious threat to the environment in Ranchi city with ill-equipped public hospitals adding to the problem.

The Centre has sanctioned two sewerage integration and treatment plant projects totalling Rs 479 crore for West Bengal to be implemented under the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) scheme. The projects will be implemented at Budge Budge and Barrackpore. Chennai's hygiene quotient will soon go up as the corporation has decided to construct 750 modern public toilets across the city. The central government has approved Goa's 125crore-proposal for the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan programme and has also sanctioned 8 crore as the first installment. Goa's coverage of sanitary toilets is just 72.6% and it lags behind several states, including Sikkim, Haryana and Kerala, where sanitation is 100%.

PEOPLE

A PIL moved by voluntary organisation Lok Adhikar Sangh, has sought protection for tribals living in and around Surat city of Gujarat against the land mafia, while alleging that the latter have been usurping land from the tribals by illegal means. Three associations representing tribal communities have opposed the tourism projects planned to be taken up at Pachamalai in Tamil Nadu, expressing apprehensions that the infrastructure developments could ultimately result in displacement of tribes living in the hills. The Left Front government in Tripura announced a separate development package of Rs 4,463 crore for tribal and minority communities in the state.

The Centre has approved Rs 3.85-crore project for the rehabilitation of street vendors in the area under the Municipal Corporation.

HEALTH AND OCCUPATIONAL HAZARDS

An alarming 142 cases of dengue have been detected in August in Delhi, the highest this year, prompting the municipal bodies to step up preventive measures. Dengue cases were detected in other states too. The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation's (AMC) health department detected 235 cases of dengue and in Pune, 398 cases have been recorded this year. The total number of dengue positive cases detected in Nalanda district of Bihar crossed the 100 mark. At least 70-71 person in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal also tested dengue positive this year. Vadodara has recorded a total of 1,101 cases of malaria from January to August, this year. A mystery fever has affected more than 26,000 people in Bojpur area of Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh. Panic has gripped Dorsi and adjoining villages in the Barnoti block of Kathua district in Jammu and Kashmir, as nearly 60 per cent population of the village, including women and children, have fallen ill due to a mysterious fever.

 

A study conducted by Chest Research Foundation (CRF), Pune, has pointed out that residents of Jaipur are at high risk of suffering from chronic lung diseases. Multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) cases have shown a worrying increase in the state and their number has shown almost 100% rise in eight southern districts of Punjab in the past one year. According to the findings of an ongoing project at Pt Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College (JNMC), around 10% of Chhattisgarh's population has prevalence of sickle cell anaemia- a genetic disorder peculiar to this region. According to a figure shared by population based Cancer Registry, Ahmedabad, registers 3.4 new cases of prostate cancer every year per one lakh male.

WHO lauded India's efforts in eradicating polio and said the country has not reported a single case of polio in the last 30 months. Despite being the number one state on several parameters, Haryana lags behind several other states when it comes to the infant mortality rate (IMR) and the maternal mortality rate (MMR). The infant mortality rate (IMR) in Rajasthan has fallen for the second consecutive year, as per the recently released Sample Registration Survey (SRS), 2012. India's birth sex ratio has fallen to 893 girls registered for every 1,000 boys born, which is much less than the overall child sex ratio of India at 914, latest government data on registration of births shows.

In an affidavit submitted before the Delhi High Court, the Directorate of Education admitted that the current menu being provided under the mid-day meal (MDM) scheme in government schools in the capital was "not meeting the nutritional norms for primary as well as upper primary schoolchildren". The Delhi High Court has allowed the Central government more time to create guidelines on regulating sale of junk food and aerated drinks in and around schools, accepting a plea for the examination of the recently formulated draft guidelines by an expert committee.

The district tobacco control cell of Patna finally launched a drive to slap fine on the violators of Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act ( COTPA). Guntur district in Andhra Pradesh, which is known to be a tobacco production centre, has secured the top prize in the anti-smoking drive at the national level. South Goa district collector N D Agrawal recently held a meeting with the district task force committee, senior officials of various government departments and NGOs to discuss tobacco control and formulate a concrete action plan to make South Goa district smoking free at public places.

INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENTS

The toll in the Hindustan Petroleum Corporatiion Limited (HPCL)- Visakha refinery cooling tower accident rose to 24, according to a press release. The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) at Vizag has filed a complaint with the Malkapuram police station against the management of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL)-Visakha Refinery, including its executive director, HR manager and manager (safety) for lapses in operations and construction of the cooler tower within the refinery premises that was charred in a blaze recently.

PESTICIDES AND HAZARDOUS PRODUCTS

The endosulfan rehabilitation cell demanded that the report of the three-member endosulfan panel headed by justice C N Ramachandran Nair should be rejected and a separate tribunal should be set up for the rehabilitation of the endosulfan victims. Out of the 5,500 persons in the list of victims of endosulfan in Kerala, 2,046 persons have been paid the first instalment of compensation as recommended by National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the central government has informed the Kerala high court.

Though more than a year has passed since the E-waste (Management and Handling) Rules came into effect in May 2012, their implementation is still in a nascent stage, at least in Varanasi, one of the major cities of Uttar Pradesh. In fact, the state ranks fourth among the 10 largest e-waste generating states in the country. Tonnes of e-waste from Bangalore and across India are shipped to Singapore, Belgium and Japan.

ENERGY

The National Green Tribunal sought response of the Centre, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh as well as several industries, including Essar and Hindalco, on a plea opposing new power projects in Singrauli and Sonebhadra districts due to environment concerns.Alarmed by rising pollution in Chandrapur city of Maharashtra and its effect on health of citizens, environmentalists have joined hands to press the demand of scrapping of four smaller units of Chandrapur Super Thermal Power Station (CSTPS) largely responsible for the high pollution in area. The people of 13 gram panchayats of Lakhanpur block in Jharsuguda district of Orissa, are up in the arms against the proposed 2400 MW Lara Super Thermal Power Plant.

The Andhra Pradesh Government will come out with energy conservation code to be implemented from November 1, the State Formation Day. All the villages in Sikkim under the Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyutikaran Yojna (RGGVY) will be fully electrified by September 30, said Sikkim Energy and Power Minister Sh Sonam Gyatso Lepcha while addressing the seventh conference of power ministers of States and union territories in New Delhi.

Environment activists and villagers near Mithi Virdi of Bhavnagar district in Gujarat, have intensified their protests against the proposed setting up of a 6,000 megawatt nuclear power plant in the area. The Madras High Court has issued a notice to the Centre and Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board on a PIL seeking to direct the Kalpakkam Atomic Power Station to get environmental clearance.

In a unique initiative, Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) starts a power plant that produces electricity from sewerage water. In a bid to realize India's solar energy potential through research and innovation, the government approved a proposal to set up an autonomous institution - National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) - in Gurgaon. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) today signed an MoU to carry out projects for the production of renewable solar power in the Delhi Metro premises. Rajasthan is set to get the largest single-location solar plant in the world with an investment of Rs 30,000 crore and the announcement of the mega project most likely to come this month. In the second phase of development of solar power projects in Gujarat, the state government plans to generate 60 MW power from rooftops by bringing in 30,000 houses under the project within the next three years. The Orissa government has approved a proposal for installation of solar panel in roof top of all government establishments in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack area under PPP model. India recorded a total of 622 MW of solar power installations in the first seven months of 2013, with only 73 MW installed in the last three months. Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has set a target of generation of 10,000 mw of power through solar energy by the year 2017.

The railways is going for its first public-private partnership (PPP) in a windmill energy project. The national transporter will be calling tenders for a 25-MW wind energy plant near Jaisalmer in Rajasthan soon. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's intervention for obtaining approval for two of its wind energy projects and grant of Rs 1,500 crore from the National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF). Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said the state government will promote generation of clean energy by offering concessions to the companies coming to invest in areas like solar and wind power.

LIVING RESOURCES

The number of tigers in Bihar's only tiger reserve has more than doubled in the last three years, an official said. The forthcoming tiger census in Jharkhand will rely heavily on technology for precise counting. The exercise with use of state-of-the-art technology will involve mapping, satellite and field data collection, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) modelling and validation. In a big boost to the forest department's efforts to strengthen protection mechanism, Mumbai-based Wildlife Conservation Trust (WCT) has announced a series of measures to save tigers in buffer and corridor areas in Maharashtra. According to official figures, Karnataka lost over a dozen tigers in three years. According to officials, the tiger census in the four southern states will begin next January.

World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Uttar Pradesh forest department would now work in tandem to prevent destruction of crops and threat to human lives by elephants in villages adjoining Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary in the Terai region. Residents of a block in the eastern fringe of Chhattisgarh held a unique gram sabha — to register a complaint against ever increasing human-elephant conflict in the area. A forest department report said a total of 899 people have been trampled to death by elephants and 1,450 people injured by them in Jharkhand since 2000.

Nearly 14 blackbucks have died in the Lucknow zoo in one week, mainly due to bronchopneumonia. The dwindling population of vultures in Himachal Pradesh has registered an appreciable increase to almost 800 ever since protected areas were created for these natural scavengers in Kangra district. The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) will launch a five-year plan for conservation breeding of endangered species in the zoological parks of North-Eastern and Eastern zone States.