Delhi, Dhaka push Ganga basin project

Bangladesh and India have held talks on the Ganga basin development project after dialogue on the Teesta water sharing agreement slowed down, Bangladeshi sources said during the weekend. The project is expected to feature prominently on the agenda of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s next visit to India which is yet to be finalised.

Navigation and irrigation

“Ganga basin development project will help agriculture and river navigation and revive the river economy,” said a source close to the ongoing discussions. Joint dredging and development activities in the basin area are also part of the project.

The Ganga basin development project was first conceived during the UPA rule and came up for discussion during Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s Dhaka visit in 2011. Former Bangladeshi ambassador Mohammed Zamir who is a specialist on the issue said Bangladesh needs India’s support to build a new Ganga barrage on its territory to operationalise the scheme.

For joint development

“The main component of the Ganga basin development is the issue of joint development and management. That apart, Bangladesh needs a new Ganga barrage to hold water released from the Farakka barrage,” said Mr Zamir.

The proposed barrage would provide a solution to aridity in the Bangladeshi territory that Dhaka blames on the Farakka barrage in India. Once completed, the Ganga barrage can hold water for the lower riparian system in the lean season. Sources indicated that a Ganga basin development project can become a major achievement for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina before the next election of Bangladeshm due in two years.

Prime Minister Hasina’s visit has not been finalised so far even as talks on the Teesta river sharing has been stalled due to differences between West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Prime Minister Modi.

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Printable version | May 11, 2021 6:07:24 PM |

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