Indian team positive on Ganges Barrage at Pangsha
A joint committee to be formed to finalise proposal
The 8-member high-powered Indian technical team has shown positive attitude towards the Ganges Barrage project after visiting the construction site at Pangsha in Rajbari and Farakka point, where the River Ganges enters into Bangladesh at Chapai Nawabganj.
The team also agreed to form a high-power joint committee comprising experts from Bangladesh and India on the proposed barrage to store water for multipurpose use including recharging the ground water-table, irrigation, fisheries and increase flow of water in the Gorai, sources in the Water Resources Ministry told the Daily Observer on Tuesday.
The sources also claimed that the issue of Ganges Barrage project including the Teesta River water sharing issue will get top priority during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's forthcoming visit to India. It's expected that the Prime Minister would visit the next door neighbour in December next.
When contacted, State Minister for Water Resources Nazrul Islam told this correspondent on Tuesday that the Indian technical team has taken the construction of the proposed barrage positively after visiting the site and meeting with the government officials and experts.
"A decision was taken to form a high-power joint committee comprising experts from the two countries - Bangladesh and India - on the proposed Barrage over the River Ganges to store water for multipurpose use including recharging ground water table, irrigation, fisheries and increase the flow of water in the Gorai and three other rivers, important distributaries of the Ganges river system in its delta that includes the Sundarban,"he said.
After holding several meetings with the Water Resources Minister and State Minister, Secretary and Water Development Board Director General, the members of the technical team have returned to India. They have shown positive attitude, the State Minister disclosed.
According to the Ministry officials, after the Indian technical team's recent visit, the government is expecting that the issue will get top priority during the Prime Minister's upcoming India visit.
The issues of water sharing of common rivers including the Teesta will also dominate the agenda during the Prime Minister's visit to India.
The sources said Bangladesh considers Indian participation in the Ganges Barrage is in the interest of both the countries and geo-political situation. Ganges Barrage is very essential considering the environmental impact in the south-western region both for Bangladesh and India.
Regarding the issue, State Minister Nazrul Islam said Indian participation in the Ganges Barrage project is essential for the interest of the two countries. Otherwise, it would not be effective. Bangladesh doesn't want India as a partner of consent only but also a partner in mplementation.
A 165-km long water reservoir will be created after the construction of the barrage, he said and added that of it, 83-km rivers are flowing alongside Bangladesh-India borders. So, people from both of the countries will be benefited from the Ganges Barrage project.
Besides, water level will increase both in Bangladesh and Indian rivers connected to the Ganges river system, he further added.
Nazrul said, "The flow of water of the rivers Gorai, Mathabhanga, Arial Kha and Hisna will increase, which will help to reduce salinity and protect the Sundarban on both Bangladesh and Indian sides after the construction of the barrage."
The Indian team has sought some data on the proposed barrage. Bangladesh will provide all information as per the Indian demand on the project, he said.
He also said India wants connectivity with the Barrage and there will be boat pass of the barrage too.
When asked about finance, the State Minister said, "We will invite the World Bank to finance the project. China and Japan have already expressed their interest to finance the project. India is also interested. So, there will be no problem in financing the over 4-billion Ganges Barrage project."