INDIA

Delhi has the dubious distinction of being the fourth most polluted city in the world according to a report prepared by the committee on environment and forests which was tabled recently in the Parliament. Every day, about 2,000 million tonnes of pollutants are added to the city's air each day.

Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Uttar Pradesh will soon launch the country's first home-made eco-friendly biopesticide prepared from soil-based fungi in the market. The biopesticide can successfully counter diseases affecting chickpea, lentil, groundnut, soyabean, vegetable crops and ornamentals.

The Assam government has decided to continue the controversial rock mining in the Chandardinga hills for exporting of granite to Bangladesh. In the last one year, local environmental groups had been protesting against the blasting of the hills as it would harm the region's flora and fauna.

Bangalore will soon boast of the country's first software village with the virtual reality office concept of the west. Among the numerous facilities offered by the village will be career education and training, applied research for development and satellite communication.

Scores of hotels and holiday homes are among more than one hundred buildings on the Puri beach which might have to shift soon. The owners of the buildings have been served with notice as the structures were constructed in violation of the Coastal Regulation Zone rule. Many of the buildings are located within metres of the high tide line on the coast.

A proposal for waiving off the 15 per cent excise duty on the chloroflurocarbon-free products is under consideration by the Union government. This was announced by the additional secretary, ministry of environment and forests, V Vaish in Pune recently.

A dengue fever epidemic has broken out in Delhi where the disease has affected 1,010 persons and claimed more than 65 lives in the past one month. Most of the victims were children. The fever is spread by Aedes mosquito which breeds in stagnant waters.

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