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  • S C I E N C E A N D E N V I R O N M E N T F O R T N I G H T L Y

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  • S C I E N C E A N D E N V I R O N M E N T F O R T N I G H T L Y

    DownToEarth

    VOL 22, NO 10; To ta l No o f pages 80 Editorial, subscriptions and advertisements: Society for Environmental Communications, 41, Tughlakabad Institutional Area, New Delhi 110 062, Phone: 91-11- 29955124, 29956110, 29956394, 29956399 Fax: 91-11-29955879. Email: downtoearth@downtoearth.org.in © 2005 Society for Environmental Communications. All rights reserved throughout the world. Reproduction in any manner is prohibited. Printed and published by Sunita Narain on behalf of Society for Environmental Communications. Printed at International Print-o-Pac Limited, B-204, 205, Okhla Industrial Area, Phase I, New Delhi-110020 INDIA and published at 41, Tughlakabad Institutional Area, New Delhi 110 062.

    FOR ADVERTISEMENT CONTACT: Jyoti Ghosh jghosh@cseindia.org

    FOR SUBSCRIPTION CONTACT: K C R Raja raja@cseindia.org

    FOUNDER EDITOR: Anil Agarwal

    EDITOR AND PUBLISHER: Sunita Narain

    FEATURES EDITOR: Kaushik Das Gupta

    SCIENCE EDITOR: Vibha Varshney

    NEWS EDITOR: Arnab Pratim Dutta

    CHIEF COPY EDITOR: Archana Yadav

    SENIOR EDITORS: Latha Jishnu

    Richard Mahapatra ART DIRECTOR: Ajit Bajaj

    REPORTING TEAM: Aparna Pallavi [Nagpur] M Suchitra [Hyderabad] Sayantan Bera [Kolkata] Alok Gupta [Patna] Ankur Paliwal Jyotika Sood Kumar Sambhav Shrivastava Anupam Chakravartty Soma Basu Jitendra Choubey Kundan Pandey Jyotsna Singh

    COPY DESK: Aruna P Sharma Sonalika Sinha Snigdha Das

    DESIGN TEAM: Chaitanya Chandan Shri Krishan

    PHOTO LIBRARY: Anil Kumar

    WEB TEAM: Allan Lyngdoh Rajendra Rawat Jaidev Sharma

    PRODUCTION: Rakesh Shrivastava Gundhar Das

    CONSULTING EDITORS: Chandra Bhushan Anumita Roychowdhury

    Down To Earth • October 1-15, 20134

    OCTOBER 1-15, 2013

    DOWN TO EARTH EDITORIAL DOES NOT ENDORSE THE CONTENT OF ADVERTISEMENTS PRINTED IN THE MAGAZINE

    CONTENTS

    24 COVER STORY Mining on its mind Afghanistan must tap its minerals to revive its economy. But in the absence of regulations, transparency and infrastructure, it can end up squandering its wealth

    FRONTPAGE

    SPECIAL REPORT

    09 Dying in numbers Infant deaths in West Bengal’s apex child hospital point to poor healthcare in rural parts of the state

    15 Uttarakhand: ravaged, not rebuilt Three months after the disaster, Uttarakhand has not even started to recover, thanks to government’s ever-changing rehabilitation policies

  • October 1-15, 2013 • Down To Earth 5

    20-PAGE DTE SUPPLEMENT W I T H S U B S C R I P T I O N C O P I E S

    gobartimesgobartimes 59-78

    Supplement Editor: Sumita Dasgupta Copy: Prachi Guron, Anjali Nambissan, Ajanta Sikdar Design: Kadambari Misra, Surender Singh

    S C I E N C E A N D E N V I R O N M E N T F O R T N I G H T L Y

    DownToEarth On the Web w w w . d o w n t o e a r t h . o r g . i n3 EDITOR’S PAGE

    6 LETTERS

    NEWS

    12 Moratorium on industry expansion in eight highly polluted areas

    13 What led to the killing of forest officer in Andhra Pradesh

    14 Rooftop solar panel scheme a big hit in Uttarakhand

    SPECIAL REPORTS

    18 Environment ministry violates afforestation laws, says CAG

    20 Biodiversity slips out of Vidarbha fishers’ net

    22 Are malnutrition figures in India exaggerated?

    SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

    34 Tiger genome reveals how big cat evolved to hunt, kill

    38 Did anyone notice climatic shift in India?

    39 Chronic diseases in family also impact its food security

    40 Cool Pacific checks global warming, for now

    41 A new way to measure tree girth

    INTERVIEW

    42 P V S M Gouri, force behind TraceNet, online organic food tracker

    FOOD

    44 Forgotten virtues of mahua

    COLUMN

    47 How human rights can be used to challenge IP laws

    INITIATIVE

    48 Now, boats turn solar in Tamil Nadu

    CROSSCURRENTS

    50 New mobile tower guidelines favour industry

    52 Jaywalkers’ challenge to the exclusionary vision of cities

    REVIEW

    55 Truely social ants

    56 MEDIA

    58 LAST WORD

    COVER : AJIT BAJAJ

    w w w . d o w n t o e a r t h . o r g . i n

    Blogs ECOLOGY OF VIOLENCE Tariq Niazi, teacher of environmental sociology at University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire, US, on the violence in Sinai

    KARNATAKA SACRIFICES STONES FOR RIVER SAND State mandates use of m-sand in public works, which would result in over-exploitation of another minor mineral and dam- age the environment

    � PHOTO GALLERY � BOOKS AND FILMS � BLOGS � FOOD � DTE REWIND

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    plus.google.com/+downearthmagazine/posts

    Special Feature GANESH CHATURTHI: TOXIC IMMERSION The environmental hazards of immersing idols of gods and goddesses in our lakes and rivers; authorities do little to check the problem

    www.linkedin.com/company/down-to-earth-india

    Countdown to Election 2014 REPORT CARD OF UPA FLAGSHIP PROGRAMMES A series of analyses and reports on the progress of UPA government's flagship programmes like Right to Education, rural job scheme MGNREGS and Direct Benefit Transfer

    SOCIAL SECTOR SPENDING BY UPA REGIME Number crunching shows government has increased total spending on social sector by 60 per cent since 2003-04

    NEW ELECTORAL SOCIOLOGY Articles that examine voting trends and changing society

  • SOMA BASU Pithoragarh

    P radeep Singh Dami’s two-storied house in Tawaghat village in Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh dis-

    trict fell like a pack of cards on June 17, when the raging Kaliganga river knocked off a chunk of the hill beneath his house. Dami had small sav- ings so he rented a room in Dharchula

    town, about 20 km from Tawaghat. Once a shopowner, he is now a shop assistant and can barely feed his family of five.

    Dami does not curse his fate but he is very angry with the administration. “My newly constructed house collapsed. The administration had sanctioned it. Now I am told that my village is one of the many the Uttarakhand government

    has marked to be resettled. The land here is unstable, it says. Why did the government sanction the building plan if it knew this?”

    But very few are as fortunate as Dami to have received compensation. Kamal Singh of the same village loaned `20,000 to claim compensation for his house. He spent all the money visiting government offices, but has still not

    October 1-15, 2013 • Down To Earth 15

    � S P E C I A L R E P O R T

    Devastated still Months after disaster struck Uttarakhand, government has done little to improve people’s lives

    PH O

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    A BA

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    SE

    She quietly sits in front of her damaged house on Dharchula-Tawaghat road for hours along with her dog. Still in a state of shock, she lives in a refugee camp set up by non-profits

  • Down To Earth • October 1-15, 201318

    SUGANDH JUNEJA

    C oming down heavily on the envi- ronment ministry, the country’s top auditor has highlighted seri-

    ous regulatory lapses in forestland diversions in a report tabled in Parliament recently.

    The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), while examining the performance of Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CFA), found that the Ministry of Environment and Forests

    (MoEF) had failed to promote compen- satory afforestation. In complete viola- tion of environment norms, there were unauthorised diversions of forestland for mining. MoEF also failed to monitor compliance with the conditions laid down in the Forest (Conservation) Act (FCA), 1980.

    “Numerous instances of unautho- rised renewal of leases, illegal mining, continuance of mining leases despite adverse comments in monitoring reports, projects operating without

    environment clearances, unauthorised change of status of forestland and arbi- trariness in decisions of forestry clear- ances were observed,” the report notes.

    Between August 2009 and October 2012, the ministry invoked penal provi- sions in only three cases. In these, too, show cause notices were issued. What’s more, the ministry and its regional offices did not make 64 files available to CAG for audit.

    Funds grow, affores