Tit-Bit News


Seizure of 55 live African Grey parrots in Mumbai International Airport

One Nigerian national Mrs Motunrayo (Passport No. B-855085) arrived by flight No ET-670 from Nigeria at Sahar Airport on June 14, 1998 (22 10 hrs) carrying two wooden cages containing 55 live African Grey parrots. The consignment was detained by the Customs during the night. Shri G L Purohit, Wildlife Inspector of the Regional Office at Mumbai, examined the consignment in the early morning of June 15, 1998. The wooden cages contained 55 live grey parrots and the species has been enlisted in Appendix II of the CITES. The Customs was advised to confiscate the birds and take necessary penal action against the accused for illegal import.

All the 55 live grey parrots have already been handed over to VJB Udyan-Zoo, Byculla for safe custody and proper housing. The seizure of 55 grey parrots is the largest seizure till date through Sahar International Airport. The approximate value of the seizure is estimated to be Rs 2.75 lakhs in the international market. The last seizure of 25 African grey parrots from Nigeria was done at Mumbai Airport on November 30, 1997. The CITES Authorities of Nigeria are being requested to enquire into the matter to prevent such illegal trade.


Vishisht Vaigyanik Puraskar

Vishisht Vaigyanik Puraskar (or Special Scientist Awards) were instituted in the year 1992, by the Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India, with the view to encourage original and applied research among the scientists in the Ministry and its associated offices and to give recognition to scientists who make outstanding contributions to the objectives of the ministry. Each awardee is presented with a citation, a certificate and a cash award of Rs 20,000.

Shri Suresh P Prabhu, Hon ble Union Minister for Environment & Forests, presented the awards this year at a special function, commemorating the World Environment Day and the 20th anniversary of the National Museum of Natural History, at the FICCI Golden Jubilee Auditorium, New Dehi.

The distinguished scientists who received the Vishisht Vaigyanik Puraskar this year are Dr Ekalabya Sharma, Dr S K Banerjee and Dr Gajanand Gupta.

Dr Ekalabya Sharma, Scientist, G B Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development, Almora (UP) has been given this award in recognition of his outstanding contribution in the field of Himalayan ecology with special reference to science of energetics in nitrogen accretion of Himalayan Alder (Alnus Nepalesis).

Dr S K Banerjee of Tropical Forest Research Institute, Jabalpur (MP ), has contributed significantly in the area of reclamation and revegetation of mine overburdens of coal and copper.

Dr Gajanand Gupta, Scientist, Arid Forest Research Institute, Jodhpur (Rajasthan), has been presented this award for his contribution in the area of technology for harvesting, conservation and efficient use of rain water for afforestation of sandy deserts and development of tree species in hot desert regions of India.


Twentieth Anniversary of National Museum of Natural History

The National Museum of Natural History, a subordinate institution of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, opened to the public on June 5,1978, symbolically coinciding with the World Environment Day that year. It was inaugurated by Shri H M Patel, the then Union Minister for Finance and Chairman of the Wildlife Board.

On June 5 , 1998, the National Museum of Natural History observed its 20th anniversary and completed two decades of successful existence in the service of society by way of imparting non-formal environmental education. The museum has not confined its activities to the capital of the country but has also established its regional centres in other parts. One such regional museum has been established in Mysore in Karnataka for the southern region of the country and another one is functional in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, for Central India. The third one is under construction in Bhubaneswar in Orissa for Eastern India.

The museum also conducts various educational and extension activities throughout the year. At present, it is running a highly popular month-long summer programme for various age groups, starting from six years to 17 years. These programmes are conducted not only within the four walls of the museum but the participants are also taken on nature tours outside Delhi for in-situ experience of nature, in one of the wildlife sanctuaries or national parks.

This year the functions of the World Environment Day and the 20th Anniversary of the National Museum of Natural History were jointly celebrated by the Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India, and graced by the presence of Shri Suresh P Prabhu, Hon ble Union Minister for Environment & Forests and Shri Babu Lal Marandi, Hon ble Union Minister of State for Environment & Forests, apart from other distinguished personalities.


Other World Environment Day Awards

Shri Suresh P Prabhu, Hon ble Union Minister for Environment & Forests, also distributed awards to the winners of original writings in Hindi on environment-related subjects, on the World Environment Day function. Apart from the Hindi awards, prizes were awarded to the winners of Earth Day competitions by Shri Babu Lal Marandi, Hon ble Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests. Shri Babu Lal Marandi also released educational kits to the schools for visually handicapped children, on the occasion. (The Earth Day was observed by the National Museum of Natural History on 22 April, 1998, in which Nature Painting and Essay Competitions were held for children).


GOI-UNDP CCF-I Environmental Programme Support

The UNDP Environmental Programme supports the Government of India's ongoing activity in environmental protection in forestry areas. The programme derives its thrust from projects being implemented by the Government in the Ninth Five Year Plan. This programme addresses the following thrust areas:

The Programme Support Document was signed by the Government with UNDP on September 5, 1997 and will remain operational till the year 2001. Under the programme, UNDP will be funding various projects and the total outlay for the programme is equivalent to about Rs 36 crores (US$ 9 million).

A Programme Coordination Committee (PCC) has been established under the chairpersonship of Mrs Malti Sinha, Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Environment & Forests. The members, drawn from other line ministries and non- officials, represent the above thrust areas.

The PCC has considered and recommended various project proposals for funding under their programme. The following proposals have been developed into final project documents. They are being processed for seeking government approval at appropriate level for their inclusion for funding under the above programme.


Commission on Sustainable Development

The VIth Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was held in New York from April 20 to May 1, 1998. While the Secretary (E&F) led the Indian delegation to this Session, comprising of officers of the Ministry of Water Resources and the Ministry of External Affairs and the officers of Permanent Mission of India to UN in New York, the Minister (E&F) led the delegation in the High Level Segment held from April 29 to May 1, 1998. This Session deliberated on issues relating to strategic approach to fresh water management, industry, technology transfer, capacity building, awareness and science etc.



ENVIRO INTERNATIONAL 98 Trade Fair + Seminar on Technologies and Equipment for Environment Protection, is being organised between December 14-17, 1998 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi by the TAFCON Group.

The Exhibition and Technical Seminars will cover a wide range of environmental related activities such as: industrial waste management, sewerage treatment, non conventional energy sources, ISO 14000 standards, energy conservation and alternatives, solid waste & soil protection, air pollution control, water pollution control, pollution control equipment & technology, waste water & sludge, environmental projects & financing, safety technology, recycling, green production technology, garbage handling & management.

The co-sponsors of this event are the Ministry of Environment & Forests, Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources, Ministry of Commerce, Central Pollution Control Board, apart from USAEP, ITUT - Germany, UNIDO, WERC-USA, NSTB, MTP-Asian Water - Singapore, APCTT, VLM - The Netherlands, Importers and Exporters Association of Taipei, Taiwan, TERI and the India Trade Promotion Organisation.



The National Afforestation and Eco-Development Board (NAEB) was constituted in the Ministry of Environment & Forests in August, 1992 with the mandate of promoting afforestation, tree planting, ecological restoration and eco-development activities in the country, with special attention to degraded forest areas and lands adjoining forest areas, national parks, sanctuaries and other protected areas, as well as ecologically fragile areas like the Western Himalayas, Aravallis, Western Ghats, etc.

Schemes operated by NAEB

Integrated Afforestation and Eco-Development Project Scheme

The scheme is intended to promote afforestation and development of degraded forests by adopting an integrated approach to the development of land and other related natural resources on watershed basis through the micro-planning process. The scheme is 100 per cent Centrally sponsored.

Area Oriented Fuelwood and Fodder Projects Scheme

The scheme is implemented with a view to augment production of fuelwood and fodder in the 29 identified fuelwood deficient districts of the country to meet the needs of the communities. The scheme was implemented on 50:50 sharing basis with the state governments.

Non-Timber Forest Produce including Medicinal Plan (NTFP)

The objective of the scheme is to conceive, improve as well as to increase production of non-timber forest produce including medicinal plants, with a view to improve and replenish the stock of indigenous forest produce and medicinal plants which are fast depleting due to over exploitation. At the same time, the scheme aims at augmenting the income of tribal and rural poor living in and around forest areas.

Implementation of IAEP, AOFFP and NTFP Schemes during the Ninth Plan

Four key elements are being emphasised in the above three schemes during the Ninth Five Year Plan. These are: promotion of Joint Forest Management, micro- planning, incorporation of improved technologies, where necessary, during the nursery raising/plantation, and monitoring and evaluation of the projects.

JFM                     : JFM will be a central and integral part of all plantation projects.  The project
                          authorities will be given adequate flexibility by way of   entry-point activities  and
                          requisite funds for building up awareness etc. amongst communities.

Micro-Planning : The concept of planning/micro-planning will be emphasised. Projects will have clear baseline data and criteria for evaluation. Micro-plans will also be necessary. The baseline data and criteria for evaluation should be part of the project report on which basis a project will be sanctioned, though they could be improved upon and finalised by the time of the first evaluation.

Improved Technologies : All projects will have a component of improved and established new technologies. Projects will earmark not exceeding 10 per cent of the project area for implementing such technologies in the field of nurseries, plantations, etc. For new technologies the cost norms may be enhanced upto 25 per cent.

Monitoring & Evaluation : Monitoring and evaluation of projects will be organised by the NAEB, apart from the monitoring and evaluation done by the state governments. The first evaluation will be done within 12-24 months of sanction. This would, in particular, ascertain the adequacy of the JFM efforts and the micro-planning exercise. The second (mid-term) evaluation will be conducted in the fourth year of the project, while the final evaluation would be carried out in the last year of the project period.