• HC summons official over pollution problem

  • Flood toll goes up to 33

  • `Forest wealth being looted'

  • HC summons official over pollution problem

    THE TIMES OF INDIA [26, JULY, 2002]

    PATNA: The Patna High Court on Thursday directed the forest and environment secretary to appear before the court on Friday and state the steps to be taken for dividing Patna in different zones to tackle the problem of noise pollution in the city.

    A division bench, comprising Justice Nagendra Rai and Justice R S Garg, passed the directive in a PIL relating to the Patna traffic case.

    The court expressed dissatisfaction with the affidavit filed by the deputy adviser of the department that “Patna is not a planned city and, so, the work to divide the city in different zones will take time”.

    Earlier, the court had issued a directive to the forest and environment department to demarcate Patna into industrial, commercial, residential and noise-free areas within 15 days. Such a demarcation had to be made under the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000. The court took a serious view of the matter, and expressed concern that strong steps must be taken to make Patna pollution-free by enforcing the provisions of the environmental laws.

    The court told additional advocate general S K Ghosh that the affidavit filed by the deputy adviser of the department was “unsatisfactory and hopeless” and also smacked of delaying tactics to complicate the matter.

    Arguing the matter, the lawyer and the secretary of the Council for Protection of Public Rights and Welfare, M P Gupta, submitted that Patna was regulated by laws and, therefore, it was wrong to say that the city was unplanned.

    The claim of the deputy adviser of the department of forest and environment implied that the expenditure on the Public Regional Development Authority, which had planned Patna, was a waste of public money, Gupta added


    Flood toll goes up to 33

    THE TIMES OF INDIA [26, JULY, 2002]

    PATNA: Over 4.1 million people are reeling under flood in 14 districts of the state, said the relief and rehabilitation minister Ram Vichar Rai while talking to mediapersons here on Thursday.

    Rai said that around 5,027 villages in 90 blocks have been affected by the flood. The flood-hit districts include Sheohar, Sitamarhi, Saran, Siwan, Gopalganj, West Champaran, East Champaran, Munger, Saharsa, Muzaffarpur, Supaul, Darbhanga and Madhubani.

    There was no let-up in the grim flood situation on Thursday with North Bihar rivers continuing to exert pressure on their embankments. The Gandak remained in full fury, threatening Gopalganj, East Champaran, West Champaran, Chapra, Siwan, Muzaffarpur and Vaishali districts. The Kamala Balan and Bagmati rivers continued to inundate large parts of Madhubani, Darbhanga, Sitamarhi and Sheohar districts.

    The flood toll touched 33 with 14 deaths in Sitamarhi and Darbhanga, 15 feared drowned in Madhubani and two deaths at Gopalpur in Gopalganj district.

    The minister confirmed the deaths of 29 and said that the government would give Rs 50,000 to the next kin of each of the deceased.

    Rai said that three helicopters were being used for the distribution of food and relief material in the four worst-hit districts — Darbhanga, Madhubani, Sheohar and Sitamarhi. “One column of Army personnel with motor boats are expected to come today. They will be sent to Darbhanga to help the civil authorities to carry out the rescue and relief work,” he added.

    He claimed that around 646 boats had already been requisitioned for carrying out relief and rehabilitation work. In Darbhanga alone, 5.35 lakh people living in 10 blocks have been affected by floods, while in Madhubani, 20 lakh people living in 13 blocks are hit by floods. In Sitamarhi, 9 lakh people in 12 blocks are marooned. According to him, the government has already distributed 5,051 quintals of wheat, 17 quintals of gram and 110 quintals of ready-made food among the victims.


    `Forest wealth being looted'

    THE HINDU [26, JULY, 2002]
    By Our Special Correspondent

    Bangalore July 25. The Forest Minister, K.H. Ranganath, said in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday that he would look into the complaint of looting of forest wealth by smugglers in collusion with officials in Uttara Kannada District and make a statement. Raising the issue, Visveshwara Hegde (BJP) said an official who had tried to prevent smuggling of forest wealth was attacked. Mr. Hegde urged the Government to strengthen the staff and provide the employees with weapons. The department was recruiting staff at higher levels in Aranya Bhavan rather than at the field level, he said.