£2.7 billion appeal: Bangladesh asks India for help to build a new reservoir


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APPEAL: Bangladeshi prime minister Sheikh Hasina

APPEAL: Bangladeshi prime minister Sheikh Hasina

Bangladesh has asked for help from India to build a £2.7 billion water barrier on the Padma River, known locally as the Ganga River.

The 165 kilometres long reservoir will hold 2.9 billion cubic litres of water and will help to protect life and crops. During the monsoon season it will contain the deluge of water and during dry seasons it would release water to feed smaller rivers.

The water level in the Padma River is reported to be lower than normal since a reservoir was constructed 30 kilometres upstream in West Bengal state in India in 1975.

Anisul Islam Mahmud, the Bangladeshi minister for water resources, said Dhaka has already sent a proposal to India seeking cooperation.

“The Ganga flows through both Bangladesh and India so the project would not be successful without India’s cooperation,” the minister said.

It is not yet clear how exactly the countries would work together. They have never worked on any major mega-projects before, although there are increasing efforts to do so.

In 2010 the prime ministers of the two countries signed an agreement under which Bangladesh received a £666 million soft loan from India, with a special focus on the development of railways and waterways.

In 2012 India and Bangladesh also signed an agreement to jointly build a 1,320 MW coal-fired plant in Bangladesh under the aegis of a joint company called the Bangladesh-India friendship company.

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