Cancel river-inter linking plan: Indian project to hit food production in Bangladesh

Environmentalists of Bangladesh on Saturday demanded immediate cancellation of multi-million dollar Indian river-inter-linking project as it would create ecological imbalance in Bangladesh.
The implementation of project would decrease water level in about 53 common rivers resulting in loss of food grain production.
A seminar titled — 1st connection of Indian river-inter-linking project and its impact on Bangladesh, jointly organized by Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon [BAPA] and Bangladesh Environment Network [BEN], was held at Dhaka Reporters Unity.
Eminent geologist and environmentalist Professor Md. Khalequzzaman of Lock Haven University-USA presented the keynote paper while general secretary of BAPA Dr Md Abdul Matin and Professor M Shahidul Islam also spoke on the occasion.”Although, the Indian government as a follow-up of Supreme Court verdict has suspended the implementation of Ken-Betwa river link project [1st part of total river-inter-linking project], the people of Bangladesh apprehend that it may be taken again after the completion of their general election,” said Md. Khalequzzaman.
“The proposed project aims at diverting the surplus waters of river Ken through Ken-Betwa link canal to river Betwa for Indian irrigation purpose. But it did not give any importance to Bangladesh’s interest. …. If the project is implemented, the water flows of the Padma river of Bangladesh will sharply fall. “Besides, the Farakka Barrage will be hampered severely losing the water flows. At present, the rivers flow far less than before the barrage was built, and it is getting worse every year. In the long run, it may dry out the world’s largest coastal forest Sunderbans,” he said.
The plan to link major rivers flowing from the Himalayas and divert them south to drought-prone areas would be most ‘harmful’ as local hydrologist have estimated that even a 10% to 20% reduction in the water flow is enough to dry out vast areas of Bangladesh for much of the year. More than 80% of Bangladesh’s 30 million small farmers grow rice and depend on water that flow through Indian upstream.
The plan which would take at least a decade to implement, making it potentially the largest and most expensive water project in the world would redraw the subcontinent’s hydrological map with immense ecological and social consequences. And it would have catastrophic effects on Bangladesh’s rice fields, the scientists observed.

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