Prothom Alo: India concerned over Ganges barrage project

News Source: Prothom Alo – Bangladesh

New Delhi has expressed concern over a mega project undertaken by the Bangladesh government for construction of a barrage in the Padma (Ganges) river, water resources minister Anisul Islam Mahmud said on Wednesday. He referred to India’s argument that if the Ganges barrage mega project is commissioned, it might cause backflow of water and siltation. The minister was speaking at a workshop on multi-stakeholder engagement on water resources management, organised by Water Resources Planning Organisation and 2030 Water Resources Group of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) at a city hotel.

Dwelling on India’s concern about the proposed Ganges barrage project, Mahmud said, ‘Now we are trying to address the problems and we can easily resolve it.’

He said Bangladesh and India signed the Ganges Water-Sharing Treaty for 30 years and 18 years had already passed.

Bangladesh needs to complete the barrage project as soon as possible to have sufficient positive impact on both the countries so that at the time of next round of negotiation for the Ganges water treaty, it would be easier for Dhaka to convince New Delhi, the minister said.

The proposed Ganges barrage project involves an investment of $4 billion. Bangladesh has sought Japanese assistance to implement it.

Expressing his concern about decline in the flow of Teesta waters, Anisul Islam Mahmud said, ‘ We’ve seen a drastic fall in water flow in the Teesta river. Actually, what I want to say is the Teesta river, in this dry season, saw the lowest 300 cusecs of water flow while it was 1,500-1,800 cusecs (cubic feet per second) during the same period in the previous year. This is an indication of the fate of other common rivers.’

He hoped that India would keep its promise and sign the Teesta water sharing deal with Bangladesh soon.

Bangladesh and India were supposed to sign Teesta water sharing agreement in 2011 but due to strong resistance from West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, it could not happen then.

SOURCE: Prothom Alo Bangladesh