At a time when plantation companies are under pressure for financial irregularities, they are also facing severe criticism from the ministry of environment and forests which has castigated them for "over projecting' their returns.

Increasing demand for drinking water and continuous discharge of effluents into the Gomti has sent alarm bells ringing through the corridors of the Uttar Pradesh pollution control board.

Forest authorities of Mathura seized 29 rare species of wild animals from an illegal mobile zoo, operating in Vrindavan in the Kumbh Mela area recently. These animals include lorises, wolves, pythons, giant squirrels, lions, hyenas, porcupines, turkeys, leopards, crocodiles, bears, wild leopard cats, civet cats, stumped-tail monkeys, pelicans, languors, rhesus monkeys and jackals.

Over the years, the wetlands of Manipur have been neglected.People looked at the fresh water lakes of Manipur simply as marshy wastelands, unproductive areas causing health hazards, except for its importance for waterfowl, fishing and production of a few commercially-viable plants. The ecology of these lakes has badly deteriorated, due to siltation, pollution and eutrophication.

An irrigation expert told the Kavery Water Dispute Tribunal that Tamil Nadu should discontinue the practice of double rice cropping system in the delta region. I C Mahapatra said that Tamil Nadu should grow a single rice crop of long duration.

The Chamba district administration, Himachal Pradesh, has recently evacuated over 100 tribal families of Hadsar, Gandoh Nayagran and Deol hamlets due to the threat of landslides, moving them to safer places.

The development of women in India during the past five decades has been uneven and the momentum of their active role in public affairs waned after Independence. Women need to be empowered to take their rightful place and to free themselves from exploitation and discrimination, said First Lady Usha Narain at an open discussion on "Development of Women in 50 years of Independence', held recently in New Delhi.

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