Four-nations expert group on water management on cards

Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) today decided to form an experts group for exchanging best practices in water resources management and on specifics of the identified projects, power trade, inter grid connectivity, flood forecasting and other areas of possible cooperation.The decision came at the two-day third Joint Working Group (JWC) meeting of the four countries that concluded here today, foreign ministry sources said.The meeting also reviewed progress regarding connectivity and transit under the BBIN MVA (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal Motor Vehicle Agreement) and made recommendations relevant to this process.The JWG meeting agreed to commence discussion on the possibility of having a BBIN Rail Agreement drawing on the draft SAARC Regional Rail Agreement template as land ports, land customs stations crucial for sub regional trade and transit.

The JWG on Water Resources Management and Power/Hydropower carried forward earlier discussions on scope for power trade and inter-grid connectivity cooperation in future power projects and water resources management between the four countries.Specific hydropower projects under BBIN framework that could be concretized on equitable basis were also discussed. The meeting decided to hold the next JWG meeting in the second half of 2016 in India.Tareq Md. Ariful Islam, Director General (South Asia) of the ministry of foreign affairs, led the Bangladesh delegation in the meeting.The Bhutanese delegation was led by Karma P Dorji, Director, Department of Hydropower and Power Systems of the ministry of economic affairs, the Nepalese delegation by Prakash Kumar Suvedi, Joint Secretary (South Asia), and the Indian delegation by Abhay Thakur, Joint Secretary (North), and Ms. Sripriya Ranganathan, Joint Secretary (BM).