VOL.4 1-30 June 2001 NO.3


(The Hindu – 1-06-2001)

The Cabinet cleared a Rs. 222.6 crore project to clean up the Yamuna under the National River Conservation Plan of the environment Ministry called ‘Yamuna Action Plan’. The 100 per cent Centrally sponsored project would aim at minimizing pollution of the river, particularly in the portion of the river falling in Delhi. The action plan envisages creation of new facilities and upgradation of existing ones for more efficient treatment and disposal of domestic and other wastes created in 15 major towns that are located on the banks of the river as it courses through Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, besides Delhi. The bulk of the expenditure would be made in Delhi (Rs. 166 crores), followed by Uttar Pradesh (Rs. 29 crores) and Haryana (Rs. 22 crores).


(The Hindu – 2-06-2001)

To counter growing air pollution in Delhi and save the fast vanishing green cover, the Delhi Government’s Forest Department has prepared an ambitious plan to develop over a dozen "forest areas" across the city. These "green lungs" would act as cushions for absorbing pollutants from the air. Besides the Ridge with the help of the Territorial Army, the Forest Department has now identified about 1,400 acres in different zones to develop them into mini-forests. Another large stretch on the Ridge along Asola Sanctuary would be taken up for greening shortly. A massive plantation exercise is on the cards along these vast stretches with active involvement of non-governmental organizations, resident welfare associations and Army personnel.

Recreational facilities like artificial lakes,parks, picnic spots and walking tracks would be created. The nature of flora in the entire Ridge area will change with the thrust being on plantation of traditional species. The Government is also treatment in 30 of the 50 acres earmarked for the project has already been completed. developing a botanical garden across 80 acres of land at Najafgarh. Aunique feature of this garden would be a number of small theme parks which will take people closer to nature. Consultants are being engaged for development of the garden, and soil. treatment in 30 of the 50 acres earmarked for the project has already been completed.


(The Hindu – 4-06-2001)

World’s highest observatory center started functioning at Mount Saraswat Hanley in frontier region of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir. Compact in design and equipped with state-of-the-art instruments, the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) telescope with a mirror of two-diameter will be capable of imaging the universe in both the visible and infra-red wave-length. It could be controlled remotely through satellite link from Bangalore. The telescope, located at an altitude of 45.177 metres above sea level is the highest ground-based telescope in the world and the first of its kind in the trans-Himalayan region.


(The Hindu – 6-06-2001)

To counter the serious threat of degrading environment and increasing pollution, Delhi Government has decided to induct school children in a "Green Delhi Action Plan" and ensure its success. It has proposed the setting



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up of a "tree police" comprising school children to look after trees planted in and around school and college campuses. Similarly, in an effort to give a new direction to the afforestation programme and actively involve citizens and parents in it, it has also been decided to introduce new appealing slogan like "Plant A Tree For your Child" and "One Vehicle One Tree" during 2001-2002. All these are proposed to be taken up in the "Green Delhi Action Plan". Conceding that the survival rate of trees is not very encouraging, all agencies – government and non-governmental – have been asked to identify schools in their areas and impress upon them to adopt small areas inside and outside their campuses. This would not only familiarise children with the need to work for sound environmental surroundings but also ensure better survival of trees. Each class would be asked to plant a tree to "grow with the children". NGOs could be enlisted with the help of the Directorate of Education for the success of this programme.


(The Indian Express – 7-06-2001)

An Indian doctor has for the first time in the world perfected a technique to regenerate organs and tissues and secured an American patent on it. This makes the possibility of alleviating the trauma of patients suffering form organ failure very real. Only limited successful human trials have been conducted, but the surgeon says he has fully perfected the technique in monkeys, the experimental model closed to humans. The technique evolved by the surgeon, Dr Balkrishna Ganpatrao Matapurkar, who works with the Maulana Azad Medical College in New Delhi, enables regeneration of mammalian organs within the body at the site of the old damaged and diseased organ. Dr Matapurkar has been able to regenerate organs like the uterus, urethra and ureter in animals and adds that experiments are on to regenerate organs like kidney and parts of the intestines. He has already achieved human organ and tissue regeneration tendons damaged in the abdominal region, which lead to the painful condition of hernia.


(The Hindu – 9-06-2000)

Concerned over the Capital’s fast depleting green cover, the Delhi Government has come out with a "replacement policy" for trees. It has told all civic agencies to identify trees likely to wither and die over the next decade and plant "replacements" alongside to avoid "blank spots". All over Delhi, especially along roadside and old parks, there are trees that are aged and worn out. These trees are prone to uprooting during storms and many will die due to rotting of main trunk and roots, insect attack or other hazards. Keeping this in mind, a new crop of trees is to be planted in advance alongside the old ones to avoid treeless "blank spots" in case they are diseased or get uprooted. At the time of replacement, emphasis would be on planting species like neem, peepul, jamun and pilkhan which are suited to Delhi’s climate, Replacement would be done with the same species to maintain symmetry and harmony.


(The Hindu – 12-06-2001)

A bio-diversity park is coming up along the Yamuna river-bed in North Delhi. Delhi Development Authority will develop the park in collaboration with the Department of Botany of Delhi University in an area of 786 bighas in Wazirabad and Jharoda Mazra villages. This first bio-diversity park will have the distinction having 5,000 species of flora and fauna of the river-bed and foot hills of the Himalayas. The ecological benefits of the park, when fully developed, including protecting the river basin and ground water besides conserving plant and animal species of the region.


(The Hindu – 12-06-2001)

Forty newly established fast track courts in Rajasthan started functioning with an avowed objective of speedy disposal of long-


pending cases. These courts will tackle the problems of undertrials on a war footing by clearing a backlog of nearly 24,000 pending criminal cases. Rajasthan is one of the four States in the country, which have accepted the Union Government’s proposal to set up the fast track courts. A financial provision of Rs. 6 lakh each has been made for these courts established in 33 sessions courts in the States. The Central Government had sanctioned payment of Rs. 1.66 crores during 2000-2001 as a Centrally-sponsored scheme for construction of court buildings and residential accommodation for judicial officers. For this project, the 11th Finance Commission has recommended a total amount of Rs. 24.07 crores during 2000-2005. The Rajasthan Government has conveyed sanction of Rs. 2.4 crores for construction of buildings where the 40 fast track courts would function under the 11th Finance Commission’s recommendations.


(The Economic Times – 17-06-2001)

Goa will begin issuing smart cards to contract labour and other workers in unorganized sector from August 2001. The idea is to provide some financial security to such workforce of the State by registering them through the issuance of smart cards. This scheme is first of its kind in the entire country. The State recently amended its Employment and Retirement Benefit Act by giving a ray of hope to the large migrant workforce on contract brought into the state.


(The Hindustan Times – 16-06-2001)

In a bid to legally empower women, the Government has initiated moves for determined enforcement of as many as 39 Central Acts, which have remained dormant all these years. The provision engaging the Government’s attention is aimed primarily at fighting gender bias.


The Government decided to amend the Child Marriage Restraint Act with the limited purpose of ensuring that if minor girl is taken away forcefully from her lawful guardian’s custody, the marriage would be void. Among the Acts the Government intends amending are The Indian Succession Act, 1925; Married Women’s Right to Property Act, 1874 ; Hindu Marriage Act, 1955; Indian Divorce Act, 1969; Hindu Succession Act , 1956; Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961; Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986 and Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956.


(The Hindu – 18-06-2001)

A group of researchers at the Chemistry Department of Delhi University have developed a new technology which promises to radically improve the efficacy of eye drops by ensuring that they remain in the ocular surface for a longer time and by facilitating a more-sustained release of the drug. The new technology, which is based on recent development in the high-tech area of nano-particles, is to be commercialized by the pharma major, Panacea Biotech.


(The Hindustan Times – 18-06-2001)

The Ministry of Home Affairs has given nod to the Traffic Management Institute of the Delhi Traffic Police, the first of its kind in the country. To be built in an area of eight acres in Narela, north-west Delhi, the institute will have state-of-the-art technology for training of drivers and evolving a new concept in road engineering. The traffic police officers will be benefited much from the institute. The errant motorists will have to undergo training at the institute for correcting their driving. Even novices will be trained at the institute. Test for them will be under real life conditions which they will have to face in a specially designed equipment mostly used in the west. A vehicle inspection unit and automobile engineering cell will also be set up . The new traffic safety devices and how to enforce traffic rules will be another study conducted at the institute.



(The Pioneer – 20-6-2001)

Haryana has announced the setting up of Foodnet, and a number of steps for the effective implementation of information technology applications in the State. Foodnet would provide information regarding agro-industries, rates of different crops, data on agriculture and other relevant information on the Web. Haryana State Agricultural Marketing Board, HAFED, Haryana Agro-Industries Corporation, Haryana Warehousing Corporation, Food and Supplies Department and Food Corporation of India would be connected to Foodnet. The Haryana Government has also initiated a number of steps for effective implementation of information technology applications. These include preparation of District Minimum Agenda Programme and establishment of District Network.


(The Pioneer – 20-06-2001)

The Government announced the institution of a Rs 2 crore non-conventional energy technology commercialization fund (Netcof) to support setting up of pilot plants for manufacture of non-conventional energy systems, products and devices. Netcof corpus would be increased to Rs 10 crore soon, and will support commercialization of indigenously developed non-conventional energy technologies. Under the scheme, the Government would provide up to 75 per cent of the total project cost as grant or soft loan, while the remaining cost would be borne by the entrepreneur. The loans would be provided at a concessional interest rate six per cent per annum. Repayment of the loan, together with the interest, would commence one year after the project is completed.


(The Hindu – 21-06-2001)

The Union Ministry of Family Welfare has given the go-ahead for social marketing of emergency contraception (the morning after pill) and introduction of Net-en, the controversial injectable contraception for women. Twelve medical colleges, in collaboration with the Indian



Councial of Medical Research, would introduce Net-en, manufactured by a German company, on a pilot basis. The colleges would study women’s response to the bi-monthly shots. A vial, which costs about Rs. 120, would be subsidised under the social marketing scheme and would cost about Rs 80 per injection.


(The Hindustan Times – 23-06-2001)

In a first step towards a paperless Secretariat, the National Informatics Centre developed software for the Delhi government which will route all official files through a local area network (LAN). Each destination of the file will be marked. Enabling one to find out where the file is stuck the system will speed up the movement of files and check corruption. To make the project feasible, the government has decided to give all officials at and above the rank of superintendent computers to be lined on the network. The software will also have a complaint monitoring module by which the Secretariat staff will be able to complain about local faults and monitor the pendency of the complaint.


(The Pioneer – 25-06-2001)

Indians for the first time will have at the click of a mouse centuries old information on ayurveda. Everything, from the use of the ayurvedic formulation including the scanned shloka where it finds a mention, would be available on the net. And to start with, they will have 35,000 ayurvedic drugs to chose from. Termed the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL), it is an initiative of the Department of Indian Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy (ISM&H) under the Union Health Ministry. The TKDL will include details of international patent classification, key works on planted formulations, synonyms, dictionary of equivalents for ayurvedic terminology, concepts and definitions, process, formulations, dosage, disease conditions and reference to documents as well as shlokas from identified classical texts.



(The Hindustan Times – 26-06-2001)

"File covers from currency notes", this has been done in Sanganer, a Jaipur suburb. For over three years, the Kumarapapa National Handmade Paper Institute has been converting currency waste from RBI into durable file covers. Apparently, the institute is the only one of its kind in Asia to have developed this technology. The institute has also applied for patenting its technology. Every two months this institute gets about five tones of shredded currency notes form the RBI. Each file over made from these frayed currency notes is then sold back to RBI for Rs 6 a piece. Earlier, the disposal of currency notes was a cumbersome task. The torn notes had to be burnt within the RBI premises under the supervision of five officers. Besides the hassle, it was non-eco-friendly. The process of burning the currency notes was causing pollution as they are coated with chemicals, pigments and colours, which released harmful pollutants.