Latest Information on the Environment from Panjab

Mortality rate of cattle on rise during monsoon

Bipin Bhardwaj, Tribune News Service, Jalandhar, August 3
The mortality rate of milch cattle in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Chandigarh, Delhi and Rajasthan has been increasing during the monsoon for the past few years.
While veterinarians say the increasing mortality rate is a consequence of the excessive use of pesticides and insecticides by farmers in their fields, toxicologists claim that concentration of nitrate in the stalks of crops is the main reason. The affected farmers, however, feel that some poisonous wild growth has been the cause of their death.
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Thousands of Punjab farmers suffer as river Chenab runs dry
By Andrew Buncombe and Omar Waraich in Wazirabad
Thursday, 26 March 2009
Crucial, coveted and increasingly scarce, water has become the latest issue to stoke tensions between India and Pakistan, with farmers in Pakistan's breadbasket accusing Delhi of reducing one of the subcontinent's most important rivers to little more than a trickle.
Crackdown on Struggles of the Rural Poor in Punjab
Soon after the Lok Sabha elections, the Akali-BJP Government of Punjab has unleashed an all-out offensive on the rural poor in Punjab, and on the CPI(ML) which was leading their struggles. Since 21 May, over 1300 agricultural labourers and labour leaders, of Mansa, Moga, Sangrur and Bathinda districts, including 511 women and 42 children, were confined in Punjab's jails. As we go to press, virtually all activists and leaders of the Mazdoor Mukti Morcha and the CPI(ML) in the state – nearly 40 – remain in jail. In spite of the fact that many of them got bail, the government contrived to keep them in jail by naming them in ‘open FIRs’ which they had earlier filed against unnamed persons. Jasbir Kaur Nat, a National Council Member of the AIPWA, was among those jailed.

Combating air pollution
Editorial, Business Rcorder. September 2008
Presiding over a special meeting, Punjab province Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif expressed his resolve to control vehicular traffic emissions that are a major cause of air pollution in urban areas. Part of the plan is to phase out the two-stroke rickshaws from Lahore.
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452 trees will lose out to skyscrapers
Varinder Walia, Tribune News Service. August 2008
The Punjab state government is to auction of 26 acres of prime land of the old Dr Vidya Sagar Mental Hospital. This land is meant for the construction of a eight-storey building, which will house a shopping mall, multiplex and a wedding palace. At least 452 trees, including banyan, neem, peepal, kikar, ber, amaltas, sheesham and tahli trees, will be felled to make space for these buildings. Some of these trees are said to be more than 200 years old.
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Cops fire rubber bullets at farm labourers
Rajay Deep, Tribune News Service. August 2008
Eighteen activists of the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union, including women, sustained injuries when the police fired rubber bullets and tear gas and used water cannons to stop them from moving towards Badal village, Bhatinda district, Punjab state in India. The landless farmers were protesting the non-acceptance of their long-pending demands. They were demanding financial help for families affected by militancy in Fatoohiwala village, plots for the landless and possession of the allotted plots.
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Pakistan floods displace thousands of people 
Punjab Newsline. August 2008
Officials in Pakistan say floods triggered by heavy monsoon rains have destroyed thousands of homes and caused at least 27 deaths. The worst affected districts were Rajanpur and Dera Ghazi Khan. More than 3,200 homes were destroyed and vast areas of agricultural land were inundated. Officials reported five people have died in Punjab province.
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19 dead in Punjab and Haryana floods
Reliefweb / Punjab Newsline. August 2008
Heavy rain claimed more lives taking the toll to 19 in the region. Water from the swollen Sutlej, Yamuna, Beas and Ravi rivers flooded 150 villages through Punjab and Haryana in India. Floods were at their devastating worst in Punjab since September 1988 and July 1993 with 25,000 acres of standing crop damaged. Since the waters were coming from Himachal Pardesh, it was the primary responsibility of the Central government to assist and support the Punjab government. On one hand, there is a continuous use of river waters of Punjab by non-riparian states and on other hand, Panjabis were facing heavy loss both physically and economically due to widespread rainfall in Himachal Pradesh.
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Canadian Sikh part of Nobel Peace Prize 2007 Research Team
Panthic Weekly News Bureau. August 2008
Sardar Jagtar Singh Bhatti and his research team were the recipients of the coveted Nobel Peace prize for 2007 for their scientific study into global climate change. He is a Carbon Cycling Modeling Scientist for the Canadian Forest Service and was one of the scientists who took part in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Report. Twenty-five scientists, including Sardar Jagtar Singh, were recently honoured for their efforts on this 2007 report by Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources.
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Killing fields
Daniel Pepper, Scotland on Sunday. July 2008
In the Punjab's farming villages, locals are literally dying for the government to outlaw pesticides and advocate organic agriculture. After decades of relying on fertilisers, some farmers now say that the benefits have come at too great a cost, slowly siphoning the health of both the soil – sapping nutrients and killing micro-organisms – and the surrounding communities. It has led to a spike in cancer, low sperm counts in men, the early onset of menstruation and an increase of still births in women, as well as other ailments.
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Kalam wants ecology on parties' poll agenda
Dharmendra Joshi, Tribune News Service. July 2008
The former President of India, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam said that politicians should make environment protection an agenda during elections. Dr. Kalam was speaking at the concluding programme to mark the kar sewa of Kali Bein in Sultanpur Lodhi, Punjab state in India.
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'It is time that Punjab gave up paddy cultivation’
Express News Service. June 2008
“It is time Punjab (state) gave up the cultivation of paddy as over-exploitation of groundwater in the state has reached 145 percent, second only to Delhi,” said National Rainfed Area Authority CEO Dr J. S. Samra. He was speaking at a workshop on ‘Combating land degradation for sustainable agriculture’ on the occasion of World Day to Combat Desertification in Chandigarh, India.
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Punjab’s water-logging woe seeps into PMO
Dinker Vashisht, Express News Service. June 2008
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) of India has taken up the issue of lining of the Rajasthan Feeder and Sirhind Feeder canals to prevent seepage and concomitant water-logging. The seepage has resulted in critical water-logging over an area of 84,800 hectares, which has become unfit for cultivation in Ferozepur, Muktsar and Faridkot in Punjab state.
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Mixed feelings for Pakistan environmental assessments
Science and Development Network. May 2008
The practice of carrying out Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) reports is gaining ground in Pakistan, experts say, although questions about their quality remain. The researchers found that the major obstacles are the difficulties in obtaining reliable baseline data, the lack of access to modern technological tools like Global Positioning Systems and Geographical Information Systems, a shortage of quality laboratories and little public participation.
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DNA damage 'caused by pesticides'
David Loyn, BBC News. May 2008
New research in India suggests exposure to pesticides could have damaged the DNA of people in farming communities, leading to higher rates of cancer. Scientists at Patiala University, Punjab state, did the study, tracking a group of farmers for several months.
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Kali Bein film bags award
WSN Bureau. World Sikh News. May 2008
The documentary ‘Kali Bein - The Black River’, directed and produced by Surinder Manan, won the Indian Documentary Producers Association’s (IDPA) Gold Award. This was for the Best Film on Environment for IDPA Awards of Excellence 2007. It is a depiction of an enlightened leadership and mobilizing people’s participation in the solution of an environmental issue.
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