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Sunday, February 1, 2015, Magh 19, 1421, Robi-Us-Sani 10, 1436 Hijr


Tri-nation accord on sharing of flood season data
Published : Sunday, 1 February, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 51

Shahnaj Begum
Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) have agreed to enable movement of motor vehicles, trains and buses involving at least three countries in addition to the existing bilateral routes.
It was also decided to explore the possibility of using multi-modal transport to meet commercial as well as tourist need, Foreign Ministry sources told The Daily Observer on Saturday.
Following the two-day long meeting, in a joint statement signed by the representatives of the four countries in the second Joint Working Group meeting in New Delhi the countries also agreed to share data of river flows during the flood season but failed to ensure the most effective joint effort in maximizing the benefits from common river systems of the common rivers that flows among the four countries, foreign ministry sources said.
"The meeting exchanged ideas on potential cargo (both roads and railways) and bus routes, involving at least three countries in addition to the existing bilateral routes and also agreed to share suggestions in this regard which means that Nepal and Bhutan is going to enjoy the same facilities like India in roads and highways linked and some special facilities like India in transporting food-grain and heavy equipment (if necessary and subject to the approval of the Bangladesh government)," a senior official said preferring anonymity.
"The JWG took stock of the existing bilateral arrangements between the four countries on data sharing for flood forecasting and ways of improving the same. The second meetings of the JWGs on Sub-Regional Cooperation between BBIN on Water Resources Management and Power/Hydropower and on Connectivity and Transit," a joint statement said following the two days' meeting held in the capital of India.
It was also decided to explore the possibility of using multi-modal transport to meet commercial as well as tourist needs.
The Bangladesh delegation was led by Tareq Md Ariful Islam, Director General (South Asia), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Bhutanese delegation by Dasho Yeshi Wangdi, Director General, Department of Hydropower and Power Systems, Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Nepalese delegation by Prakash Kumar Suvedi, Joint Secretary (South Asia), Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Indian delegation respectively by Abhay Thakur, Joint Secretary (North) and Sripriya Ranganathan, Joint Secretary (BM), Ministry of External Affairs. However, the meeting were held in New Delhi on January 30 and January 31January, the statement said.
The Indo-Bangladesh Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) is functioning since 1972 with a view to ensuring the most effective joint effort in maximizing the benefits from common river systems which is headed by Water Resource Ministers of both the countries and a  Joint Committee has been set up for implementation, joint inspections and monitoring of the sharing arrangements at Farakka in India and at Hardinge Bridge in Bangladesh for the dry season (January to May) every year but for the last 11 years it failed to discuss the crucial issues, instead incorporated power/hydro power issues and included other ministries in the agenda to divert focus from the water management issue.
However, both Bangladesh and Indian ministers agreed on the need to move forward on the decision to explore possibilities of cooperation in power/hydropower, water, connectivity and transit in the sub-regional context.
Possibility of exchanging best practices on basin wide water resources management and development was also discussed. The JWG on Connectivity and Transit reviewed existing arrangements.
The JWG deliberated on the need for trade facilitation at land border stations for effective sub-regional connectivity. It exchanged views on usefulness of sharing trade infrastructure at land border stations and harmonization of Customs procedures. The meetings also discussed about the terms of reference for both JWGs. The next meeting of the JWGs would be held in the second half of 2015 in Bangladesh, it added.
"The delegations welcomed the opportunity to exchange views on various possibilities for cooperation at a sub-regional level for mutual benefit. The JWG on Water Resources Management and Power/Hydropower reviewed the existing cooperation in this sector. It discussed the scope for power trade and inter-grid connectivity between the four countries as well as potential for closer cooperation in future power projects. It was agreed that joint efforts would be made to explore harnessing of water resources including hydropower and power from other sources available in the sub-region," a senior official told The Daily Observer.







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