Bangladesh, 3 neighbours join hands to produce, share hydroelectricity from trans-boundary rivers
Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Bhutan are to form two sub-regional alliances for cooperation in producing electricity from trans-boundary river waters and then sharing it for mutual benefit.
Bangladesh and India will be common in both the alliances while Nepal and Bhutan will be the third country in either of the two alliances, sources in the water resources ministry said.
“Formation of such alliances is actually the result of a joint effort by Bangladesh and India. The first meeting of delegates from Bangladesh, India and Bhutan will take place on April 18,” said Mir Sazzad Hossain, member of Joint Rivers Commission (Bangladesh).
The meeting schedule of the second alliance with India and Nepal about management of the Ganges basin is yet to be settled, he added.
After signing the terms of reference, delegates of the member countries might discuss some of the projects’ sites at the April 18 meeting in Dhaka, officials said.
Primarily, Bangladesh has selected 20 hydropower sites — nine in India, seven in Nepal and four in Bhutan — in the Ganges and the Brahmaputra river basins.
Officials added that they wanted to add electricity from there to the national grid.
Of the nine sites in India, two will be in the Teesta, one in the Maintudu river and another in the Umiam river in Meghalaya while the rest are in the Brahmaputra and Ganges rivers, ministry sources said.
“But this is nothing final. We will finalise the project sites at the meeting,” an official of the water resources ministry told The Daily Star yesterday, requesting anonymity.
The meeting will not, however, discuss the Tipaimukh dam as a Bangladesh-India joint survey on the project is underway, he added.
Asked about the topic of discussion at Thursday’s meeting, the ministry source said the delegates would discuss implementation of long-term and sustainable projects for economic growth and poverty alleviation.
The members will also explore technically and geographically feasible means for augmentation and equitable distribution of water and power.
Development issues and financing of projects in the Ganges and the Brahmaputra river basins are also high on the agenda.
Replying to a query, ministry sources said multinational development partners are likely to provide funds and that the Bangladesh government needed not to bear any cost.
According to a report in The Hindu, the joint initiative will contribute to poverty eradication and better socio-economic integration.
The initiative came under a clause of the joint communiqué signed by Bangladesh and India in 2010, ministry sources said.
Source : The Daily Star