After efforts to approve a water-sharing deal with India failed, Bangladesh is now to receive a loan of nearly USD 1 billion from China to maintain water levels during the drought season.
“A massive project funded by China has been adopted for the management of the Teesta River and China has agreed to fund it. Hopefully, we can start the project by December,” Jyoti Prosad Ghosh, an additional chief engineer at the Water Development Board, which falls under the Ministry of Water Resources, told a Bangladeshi media outlet BenarNews.
According to Benar, the Chinese loan would mark the first time that China, India’s ‘regional rival’, will be involved in a river management project in Bangladesh.
The project summary, according to a report by India Today, states that floods lead to serious erosion for a lack of necessary protective measures, leaving huge amounts of property and home estates submerged every year.
Dhaka, the report mentioned, has been awaiting a conclusion of the Teesta water sharing agreement with New Delhi and has blamed the latter for its water woes since the former is a lower riparian state and is at the mercy of water that flows from India into Bangladesh.
But the deal is pending for the last eight years due to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s strong opposition to it.
A dam constructed on the Indian side causes the water flow to reduce downstream in winter, leading to a water crisis for two months on the Bangladesh side; the Daily Star quoted Kabir Bin Anwar, Secretary of the Ministry of Water Resources bangladesh, as saying.
“If we can implement the project, a vast area on the Bangladesh side can be supplied with water during the crisis season,” Anwar added.
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