69,000 ha forest land approved for non-forest use in 5 yrs

A total of 3,616 projects involving 69,414.32 hectares of forest land have been approved for non-forest use under Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, in the last five years, said environment minister Prakash Javadekar in the Lok Sabha on March 20, 2020. During the same period, compensatory afforestation (CA) was stipulated over more than 126,000 hectares, said the minister.

Pradhan Mantri National Dialysis Programme

Pradhan Mantri National Dialysis Programme (PMNDP) has not been implemented in Meghalaya and Chhattisgarh, stated the health ministry in Lok Sabha.

According to Ashwini Kr Choubey, the minister of state in Union health ministry, Meghalaya floated the tender multiple times to finalise service provider for dialysis services under public private partnership (PPP), but the bids were non-responsive.

In Chhattisgarh, contract has already been signed with the service provider for operationalisation of dialysis services on PPP mode.

Blood bank infrastructure

The health ministry denied that country’s blood bank infrastructure was poor. Choubey said adequate infrastructure required for establishing a blood bank was laid down under Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, and compliance to this was mandatory to obtain a license to run the bank.

According to him, there were 3,321 licensed blood banks as on December 31, 2019. There were 1,583 blood storage centres at the level of first referral units in the country to store blood received from the mother blood bank. These blood banks collected 1.24 crore units in 2018-19.

Pollution from ozone and black carbon

According to Babul Supriyo, minister of state in environment ministry, some studies indicated a dip in crop yield due to excessive exposure. However, specific assessment of the quantum of loss of crop yield due to pollution from ozone and black carbon is not available.

He said that ozone is a secondary pollutant which is formed through atmospheric reactions and the factors responsible are high temperature and emissions of oxides of nitrogen and volatile organic compounds.

55 per cent silicosis patients in Rajasthan

According to data presented by health ministry in Sabha, 391 cases of silicosis have been detected in the country between 2015 and 2019. Rajasthan registered the most with 216 cases, followed by Madhya Pradesh which reported 64 such cases.

The ministry added that compensation for affected persons is given under Employee Compensation Act, 1923, which is administered by compensation commissioners of respective states.

Man-animal conflicts

Man-animal conflict was a serious issue and nearly 500 people lost their lives because of hit every year, stated the environment ministry. Nearly 100 elephants get killed every year because of this.

452 people were killed by elephants in India in 2018-19. Assam and Jharkhand accounted for nearly 38 per cent of these deaths, according to the data presented by ministry in the Lok Sabha.

Locusts and climate change

Locust is a trans-boundary pest but its attack in India was not a regular phenomenon, said the environment ministry in Lok Sabha.

According to the ministry, the locust attack in 2019-20 was one of the biggest attacks in 26 years. However, there is no direct evidence to attribute the recent locust attack in the country to climate change.