Two tri-nation river alliances in offing

The influential Indian English daily has reported from New Delhi that India has already approved the composition of a working group on water and power that will coordinate with Bangladesh and Nepal to harness the tremendous potential for development of water resources of the Ganges and hydropower.According to a note prepared by the Indian Ministries of Power, Water Resources and External Affairs, the Ganges Basin has tremendous potential for development of water resources and hydropower. Therefore, the role of the Ganges in the agriculture, hydro-power, fisheries, navigation, and environmental sectors and in the economy of the co-basin countries is vital, the report says.
In a significant development indicating a sub-regional strategic alliance, Nepal, India and Bangladesh (NIB) have decided to join hands to cooperate and exploit the hydropower sector and use water resources management for mutual advantage, including jointly developing and financing projects in the Ganges river basin.
The report published in The Hindu, the joint initiative will contribute to poverty eradication and better socio-economic integration. The initiative came under a clause of the joint communiqué signed by Bangladesh and India in 2010, ministry sources said.
Another report says, Bangladesh, India and Bhutan will form another such alliance to harness the potential for development of water resources and hydropower in the Brahmaputra basin. Bangladesh and India will be in both the alliances; Nepal will be in the alliance for the Ganges basin and Bhutan in that for the Brahmaputra basin.
“Formation of such alliances is actually the result of a joint effort by Bangladesh and India. The first meeting of delegates from Bangladesh, India and Bhutan will take place on April 18,” said Mir Sazzad Hossain, member of Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) has been quoted to have said.
The note states that the tri-nation initiative will explore technically and geographically feasible means for augmentation and equitable distribution of augmented supply of water and power. There shall be a Committee of Water Resources and Power Ministries of the three countries which will be the highest decision-making body, subject to the approval of the respective governments. The Ministers for Water Resources or Irrigation shall be co-chair, while the Ministers responsible for Power shall be co-vice chair.
The Nepal, India Bangladesh Committee will be supported by a Technical Advisory Committee comprising the Secretaries of Water Resources or Irrigation, Power or Electricity and at least two technical experts representing water sources and power and one representative from the MEA of each of the three countries.
“The basic aim of these initiatives is to implement programmes in partnership with member-states that will contribute to strengthening the cooperation mechanism and to long-term sustainable development, economic growth and sub-regional cooperation,” The Hindu quoted a senior Indian Power Ministry official as saying. Special Report

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