In conservative Jammu and Kashmir, the AIDS epidemic is spreading fast with 42 deaths in 2007 and 211 fresh cases detected. "A total of 211 fresh cases were registered in Jammu and Kashmir in 2007, showing a sharp increase in the number of AIDS patients in the state. However, the number of AIDS cases registered in 2006 was just 34,' sources at J&K AIDS Control Society said. Jammu and Kashmir is one of a few states which have registered an increase in the number of AIDS cases. The health officials in Jammu and Kashmir attribute the sudden increase in the number of AIDS cases to the heightened awareness among the people about the disease. Still J&K remains a vulnerable region with regard to drug abuse and spread of H8IV/AIDS. India has over 30 lakh people living with HIV. They face stigma, discrimination and irrational prejudice in their everyday lives. Meanwhile, the total number of HIV infections across the country has shown a decrease. Against the 31,430 cases registered during 2006, the country has reported 20,408 cases this year. The number of deaths due to this epidemic has also shown a slight decrease. In 2006, 1,786 deaths were reported throughout the country while in 2007, the number decreased a little and 1,760 deaths took place due to AIDS.

From pugmarks to high-tech equipment like satellite imagery and camera-traps. That's how census on wild animals in Jammu and Kashmir is graduating. Come March, and the state Government will undertake two scientific censuses on three wild animals: the highly-endangered hangul, also called the Kashmir stag, the common leopard and the Asiatic black bear, also known as Himalayan black bear. To be conducted in collaboration with the Central Government, the censuses will also get expert help from the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun. J&K Chief Wildlife Warden A K Srivastava says, "While one census will be on the endangered hangul, found only in Kashmir, the other will focus on the common leopard and the Asiatic black bear.' The Kashmir stag census will be utilised to protect the endangered animal, and the other will be used to deal with the increasing incidents of the man-animal conflicts in the state. Srivastava says the earlier censuses conducted by the state Government were not accurate as these were carried out "on the basis of their pugmarks'. "But the new censuses will be carried out, using the most high-tech equipment like satellite imagery and camera-traps,' he adds. Cameras will be put on trees in the forest areas, which will trap the movement of wild animals, recording their actual number with the help of satellite imagery. The Centre has agreed in principle to fund the census projects. "In Jammu, experts from the Wildlife Institute of India will hold a three-day training workshop for divisional forest officers and range officers of the state forest and wildlife departments,' adds Srivastava. While the hangul is not harmful, the other two have caused man-animal conflicts in the state over the past two years, killing over three dozen and injuring more than 200 people. While the hangul census will mainly focus on the Kashmir valley, the other one will cover various areas

The revival of a historic road should ordinarily not attract the wrath of conservationists. But in Jammu and Kashmir it did. The state government's decision to upgrade the almost five century-old

on april 13, 2007, residents of Achen, a locality in Srinagar, and the municipal authorities agreed that three new dumpsites should be set up in three zones of the city, to supplement the

E-mail as PIL Treating an e-mail as a public interest petition, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court recently issued notices to the state government. The case resulted after the court's chief justice,

on november 17, 2006, villagers in Mandoora village in Jammu and Kashmir's Tral district locked up a bear which had ventured into the village. The next day the animal tried to break free but the

J&K project through: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court recently granted a stay on a decision by the state government to cancel a contract for the 1,200-MW Sawalakote hydroelectric power project. The

POLLUTION levels are rising in the Lidder river in Pahalgam, the base camp for pilgrims going up to the Amarnath cave (3,952 m) in Jammu and Kashmir. An official report issued by the Jammu and

In the recently concluded summer session of the state legislative assembly at Srinagar, a new controversy on the "road to Amarnath' has divided the Jammu and Kashmir government. Gurcharan Singh

More and more villages are opting for affordable, manageable micro hydel projects