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Special teams handle arrival of African dignitaries

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New Delhi: Even as senior ministers and officials from Africa have started arriving for pre-summit consultations, special teams have been formed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) to ensure the smooth arrival of the dignitaries – from kings, to presidents to prime ministers – for the October 26-29 India Africa Forum Summit (IAFS).

The sheer task of handling the aerial logistics is a daunting challenge in itself.

“The aviation logistics is a key area, as it is entry point for the dignitaries for the event,” a senior government official, who is in the know of transit arrangements, told IANS.

“For this purpose, we have formed special teams comprising air traffic control (ATC) and ground handling personnel at IGIA to track and handle the large contingent of foreign dignitaries who will arrive for the summit.”

These teams will work to coordinate the aerial movements of arriving dignitaries.

“We have stationed enough manpower and equipment to easily handle the communication, navigation, surveillance (CNS), air traffic management (ATM) and ground handling services for the arriving dignitaries,” the official said.

He pointed out that airspace over the IGI airport will not be closed to cater to the VVIP aerial movements.

“Nowadays, airspace restrictions are not imposed during VVIP movements. However, special teams do handle the monitoring and surveillance of such flights. This will also be accorded to the flights ferrying the dignitaries,” the official said.

However, special protocols will be followed to administer smooth transit to and from the airport.

“We will make sure that the aircraft are not kept waiting on ground to take off or circling in the sky for getting a landing slot. Arrangements have been made in advance so that these circumstances do not arise,” the official said.

Another senior government official associated with organising the event said that the dignitaries will start arriving from October 26-27 and start departing from Oct 29.

“Many of the dignitaries are arriving here by scheduled flights. Nearly half of the visiting dignitaries will be ferried by chartered jets or state-owned aircraft,” said the official.

The dignitaries travelling by scheduled flights will be formally received by the MEA (ministry of external affairs) officials at the IGIA’s Terminal-3 (T3) area known as the Canyon. This enormous area, that also houses the immigration counters, is resplendent with large-scale models of ‘hand dance mudras’ (gestures).

Chartered or state-owned aircraft have been allotted dedicated parking bays which will be connected to the airport terminal via aerobridges. Dignitaries arriving by these flights will then be received in the same manner as those who arrive by scheduled flights.

Dedicated parking bays and contact stands have already been allotted to the dignitaries coming through private jets or state-owned aircraft, the official said.

He said that a few dignitaries will disembark at bays located at the technical area of the Indian Air Force. This is being done on the request of the protocol staff of some of the visiting delegations.

On the parking of aircraft, the official said that there is ample airside space and bays available to handle all the private jets and state-owned aircraft.

“Unlike other mega diplomatic events of the past, when few aircraft were parked in nearby airports such as Agra or Jaipur due to shortage of space in Delhi, this time around there is enough parking space available at the IGIA,” the official added.

On the city side, apart from the well manicured landscapes, the roads to and from the airport will sport the Indian flag along with those of the 54 African nations.

(Rohit Vaid,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)