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Nepalese Deputy PM meets Modi, Oli says crisis will end

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New Delhi/Kathmandu: Nepalese Deputy Prime Minister Kamal Thapa met Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Monday in an effort to overcome the recent hiccups in bilateral ties.

Thapa, who is on a three-day visit to New Delhi, met Modi along with Nepal’s ambassador Deep Kumar Upadhyaya.

His meeting with Modi comes even as new Nepalese Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli expressed confidence on Monday that the “issues” related to the blockade along the Indian border would be resolved soon.

Speaking with representatives of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) in Kathmandu, Oli said the crisis, including the protests in various districts by Madhesis, will end at the earliest.

FNCCI president Pashupati Murarka said in Kathmandu that they had sought Oli’s intervention, reported the Kathmandu Post.

Oli said his government was making efforts to resolve the issues, including easing the transit of goods to Nepal and importing goods stocked in various Customs offices on the border with India through other routes.

Thapa on Sunday met Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

According to Nepal Times, Thapa “requested them to ease the supply” of freight trucks, blockaded on the Indian side due to the ongoing agitation by Madhes people in Terai opposed to the new Nepalese constitution.

Thapa told the Indian leaders about the problems facing Nepalis ahead of the festivals of ‘Dasain’ and ‘Tihar’. “But he carefully abstained from using the words like ‘blockade’ or ’embargo’,” said the Nepal Times.

The Madhes people, who comprise half the population of Nepal, say the new constitution denies them adequate representation and is heavily tilted in favour of the hill people.

(IANS)

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Report Claims, As Many As 1 Billion Indians Live in Areas of Water Scarcity

The report also highlighted that India uses the largest amount of groundwater -- 24 per cent of the global total and the country is the third largest exporter of groundwater -- 12 per cent of the global total.

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Global groundwater depletion - where the amount of water taken from aquifers exceeds the amount that is restored naturally - increased by 22 per cent between 2000 and 2010, said the report, adding that India's rate of groundwater depletion increased by 23 per cent during the same period. Pixabay

As many as one billion people in India live in areas of physical water scarcity, of which 600 million are in areas of high to extreme water stress, according to a new report.

Globally, close to four billion people live in water-scarce areas, where, for at least part of the year, demand exceeds supply, said the report by non-profit organisation WaterAid.

This number is expected to go up to five billion by 2050, said the report titled “Beneath the Surface: The State of the World’s Water 2019”, released to mark World Water Day on March 22.

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Pure water droplet. Pixabay

Physical water scarcity is getting worse, exacerbated by growing demand on water resources and and by climate and population changes.

By 2040 it is predicted that 33 countries are likely to face extremely high water stress – including 15 in the Middle East, most of Northern Africa, Pakistan, Turkey, Afghanistan and Spain. Many – including India, China, Southern Africa, USA and Australia – will face high water stress.

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Globally, close to four billion people live in water-scarce areas, where, for at least part of the year, demand exceeds supply, said the report by non-profit organisation WaterAid. Pixabay

Global groundwater depletion – where the amount of water taken from aquifers exceeds the amount that is restored naturally – increased by 22 per cent between 2000 and 2010, said the report, adding that India’s rate of groundwater depletion increased by 23 per cent during the same period.

Also Read: Beware! Sipping Hot Tea Raises Risk of Esophageal Cancer

The report also highlighted that India uses the largest amount of groundwater — 24 per cent of the global total and the country is the third largest exporter of groundwater — 12 per cent of the global total.

The WaterAid report warned that food and clothing imported by wealthy Western countries are making it harder for many poor and marginalised communities to get a daily clean water supply as high-income countries buy products with considerable “water footprints” – the amount of water used in production — from water-scarce countries. (IANS)