Short Takes

Short Takes
Short Takes

Germany to help rejuvenate river Ganga Under the 'Namani Gange' programme of the Narendra Modi government, India solicited support from various countries to rejuvenate the river Ganga and Germany has come forward to support the flagship programme. The government of Germany, with its vast experience in cleaning and rejuvenating European rivers such as Rhine, Elbe and Danube, was keen to collaborate with the government of India. Under the agreement signed between India and Germany, the latter will support India in adopting and replicating, wherever possible, the best practices of the river basin management strategies used for cleansing the Rhine and Danube of pollutants. The three-year project, from 2016-18, will closely cooperate with other national and international initiatives, including Indo-German bilateral projects like Support to National Urban Sanitation Policy (SNUSP) and Sustainable Environment-friendly Industrial Production (SEIP). Germany will contribute around $3.38 million (Rs 22.5 crores) to the project, with an initial focus on the state of Uttarakhand before further expansion to other upstream Ganga states. Martin Ney, German ambassador to India, said: "Germany has a very successful and long standing development partnership with India. Germany′s ultimate goal is to bring back ′Mother Ganga′ in India to its pristine condition as it has been done successfully for ′Father Rhine′ in Germany". Foreign Diplomats play for Clean India Ambassadors of various countries joined hands with their counterparts in the nation's capital to raise money to build eco-friendly toilets in an Indian village as part of the Narendra Modi government′s ′Swachh Bharat Abhiyan'. Sabit Subasic, the ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vladimir Miric, the ambassador of Serbia, Andres Barbe Gonzalez, ambassador of Chile and Georges de La Roche, ambassador of Guatemala, put together a first-of-its-kind tennis tournament for the massive community of foreign diplomats with entrance fees and corporate sponsorships aimed at funding toilets in India. Organised with the support of 18 other diplomats from countries like the US, Russia, Canada and Israel, as much as $39,000 was raised in an effort to make one entire village open-defecation free. The ambassadors tied up with India's largest sanitation non-profit organisation, Sulabh International, for this effort and now hope to make this tournament an annual affair. La Roche said: "I had expected we would collect about $20,000 but we′ve already crossed that.” Subasic added: "Our hope is to bring attention to how people like us, diplomats, can do their bit on such a pressing problem. "We′re starting with tennis because that′s a sport we play, but we′re not ruling out similar events in football and cricket too." The ambassadors of Austria, Brazil, Israel, Finland, Azerbaijan, Republic of Congo, Morocco, Czech Republic, Norway, Malaysia, Jordan, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and the high commissioners of Bangladesh, Canada and New Zealand also endorsed the event. Sweden's Clean Motion expands in India Clean Motion, the producer of electric three-wheel mobility solution Zbee, plans on further investments in the Indian market to the tune of $10 million. The Sweden-based electric vehicle manufacturer wants to expand its operations as well as set up an all-new assembly facility in the country. With an aim to provide last-mile connectivity to Indians, the firm plans to set up operations in Bangalore, Mumbai and Hyderabad. Currently, Clean Motion offers Zbee in DLF Cyber City in Gurgaon. Anil Arora, country head, Clean Motion, said: "Our product is powered by lithium ion batteries with design and looks targeting at the premium segment. Not only through fares, we are also looking at advertising on Zbee as a second revenue stream. "We aim to be present in all the places where there is requirement for last mile connectivity. Whether its malls, metros or tourist places we are going to be there." The majority of the components for Zbee are currently being imported directly from Sweden, which it plans to switch to localised production to bring down costs. It also has plans to target popular tourist spots across the country with its fleet of electric three-wheelers.

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