"A plant in the backyard has no value," says an Indian proverb. This attitude, which has been the bane of Indian society -- and that of the nations of the South -- repeatedly tends to overlook the

The first group to work seriously on stabilised mud blocks was based in Bangalore. Over the years, the group has achieved many s significant breakthroughs in mud technology.

The Mud Village Society was conceived as a "habitat in consonance with the total ecosystem". But the highly touted project may never be implemented.

In earlier times, a mixture of salt, herbs and spices or a simple dose of salt by itself was considered a prime cure for a range of illnesses.

Some mud houses built on the outskirts of Bangalore have developed cracks, raising doubts about the viability of mud as a building material. What went gone wrong?

Efforts to make mud suitable for constructing houses have been going on for years and there have been significant breakthroughs.

ARCHITECTS hoped to establish mud as a viable building medium when they set out to build the country's first major environmentally-sound building. The mud headquarters in Delhi of Development

Mughal builders are known the world over for the Taj Mahal. But their water engineers built a supply system in 1615 that still provides water to a Madhya Pradesh town at no cost.

Farm forestry was promoted in India in the late 1970s to produce fuelwood for rural consumption. The program was immensly successful in the green revolution region in the early 1980s, but farmers produced wood for markets, and not to meet local needs. This market orientation of farmers was recognized in the new National Forest Policy of 1988. Lately, two serious problems have been noted. First, the program remained confined only to the commercialized and monetized regions, and elsewhere made little impact.

The gharat, a water wheel used for centuries by the Himalayan people, has now been modified so that it can empower several machines simultaneously. Unfortunately, the government is not making the effort to popularise it.