Afghanistan Current Affairs

TAPI gas pipeline: Work on Afghanistan section begins

Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India have ceremonially broke ground on Afghanistan section of ambitious, multi-billion dollar TAPI gas pipeline. The ceremony was attended by Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani and his Turkmenistan counterpart Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and India’s Minister of state for external affairs Shri M. J. Akbar.

TAPI gas pipeline

TAPI gas pipeline project is proposed trans-country natural gas pipeline from Caspian Sea, Turkmenistan to India through Afghanistan and Pakistan. The abbreviation TAPI itself indicate its member countries- Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. The pipe line connects central Asia with south Asia covering 1,840 km.

The pipeline begins from Turkmenistan’s Galkynysh field (formally known as South Yoiotan Osman) that has gas reserves are 16 trillion cubic feet. The estimated construction cost of the project is 10 billion US dollars and is being funded by Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The pipeline has capacity to carry 90 million standard cubic metres a day (mmscmd). Both India and Pakistan will get supply of about 38 mmscmd whereas Afghanistan will get 14 mmscmd supply of natural gas. The pipeline will begin pumping natural gas from Turkmenistan’s giant Galkynysh gas field by the beginning of 2020 and supply life is expected to last for period of 30 years.

The pipeline runs through Galkynysh field (Turkmenistan), Afghanistan’s Herat and Kandahar province, Pakistan’s Multan via Quetta and ends at Fazilka in Punjab (India). For its security, an inter-government joint security task force (JSTF) has been recommended to serve as  nucleus of safety provided by security consultants.

Significance

The TAPI Project is considered as an important initiative of these four countries to connect energy rich Central Asia with energy starved South Asia. It marks a new dawn of economic engagement through regional connectivity by economically integrating region stretching from Bay of Bengal to Caspian Sea.

From India’s perspective, TAPI Project will provide an alternative supply source of gas with dependable reserves leading to enhanced energy security. It will further diversify the fuel basket to the benefit of Indian economy as it would be used mainly in power, fertilizer and city gas sectors.

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WHO declared Gabon as polio-free country

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared Gabon a “polio-free country”. This comes after lack of new reported or suspected cases in the central African country in recent times. But the UN health agency has recommended taking necessary steps to continue monitoring for possible signs of the disease.

Polio

Polio is highly-infectious viral disease caused by the poliovirus. It mainly affects young children and can result in permanent paralysis. The virus is transmitted from person-to-person. It mainly spreads through the faecal-oral route (e.g. contaminated water or food). After entering body, it multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system and can cause paralysis.

Initial symptoms of polio include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck, and pain in the limbs. In some cases, it causes permanent paralysis. There is no cure for polio virus, it can only be prevented by immunization.

Global Polio Prevalence

Cases of polio have decreased by 99% since 1988, when it was endemic in 125 countries and 350,000 cases were recorded worldwide. Now the disease is endemic is prevalent only in two South Asian countries Afghanistan and Pakistan, where WHO recorded four cases—two in each country this year. In 2016, there were 37 cases globally.

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