BD to take regional water issue to int'l forum: Minister

BD to take regional water issue to int’l forum: Minister

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Water Resources Minister Barrister Anisul Islam Mahmud on Wednesday said the government will place the regional water issue at the international forum if it fails to realise equitable share of water of trans-boundary rivers through negotiations with India.
“We want to resolve the water problems through negotiations with India. Definitely, we’ll go to the international forum, if we fail to realise the equitable share of water of the common rivers,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a workshop here.Institute of Water Modelling (IWM) in association with Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Australia, jointly organised the workshop on a research titled ‘Bangladesh Integrated Water Resources Assessment’ at Brac Centre Inn.
Anisul Islam Mahmud said the parliamentary elections are being held in India and the Bangladesh government will launch a fresh move after the polls to talk to the new Indian government to pave the path for resolving the longstanding Teesta water problem.
About the rampant pollution of Dhaka’s surrounding rivers, he said the government plans to take an integrated project to restore the Buriganga River, the lifeline of capital Dhaka, by bringing water from the Jamuna River.
State Minister for Water Resources Muhammad Nazrul Islam, Water Resources Secretary Dr Zafar Ahmed Khan, High Commissioner of Australia to Bangladesh Greg Wilcock, Buet Professor Dr UK Nevera, vice president of Bangladesh Water Partnership Dr K Azharul Haq and IWM executive director Prof Dr Monowar Hossain, among others, spoke at the workshop.
CSIRO water expert Dr Mac Kirby made a power-point presentation highlighting the findings of a study conducted on Bangladesh’s water problem.
Addressing the workshop as the chief guest, Anisul Islam Mahmud said the feasibility study to set up a Ganges barrage has already been completed, which will help resolve the water crisis in the country’s southern region.
About the project’s economic return, he said the country will be able to recover the project cost of Tk 4 billion within five years after its implementation.
The Water Resources Minister stressed the need for restructuring the coastal polders to make them eco-friendly and cope with the adverse impacts of climate change.
The water, irrigation and prosperity are interlinked, he said and asked the Indian government to provide equitable share of the common rivers’ water to Bangladesh under the international laws.
State Minister for Water Resources Muhammad Nazrul Islam said the trans-boundary water problem is severe in the South Asia region. “The government is trying its best to resolve the water problem.” – UNB

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