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06th-Sep-2018

Hurriedly taken development project targeting next general election

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NEWS media reported that a year after shelving the Ganges Barrage Project for its "faulty design," the government has now involved $5.15 billion scheme in the new Delta Plan 2100 as a top priority project. The National Economic Council (NEC) on Tuesday approved the Delta Plan, making the barrage project one of the 80 top priority schemes to be implemented by 2031. Taking the project on the card without reviewing and reconciling the feasibility test and finalising the design fault is ill-motivated and a sure use for propaganda targeting upcoming the national election. Despite serving two consecutive terms in power and reaching the warmest bilateral relationship in the subcontinent with India, the government's drastic diplomatic failure to reach long-hyped Teesta water treaty and water flow in the major rivers, the Ganges Barrage may an attempt to divert people's attention.
The project would cost an estimated $5.15 billion. The bureaucrats said once built, the barrage would facilitate irrigation, help restore ecological balance and increase livelihood opportunities in the project area in Rajbari district, some 98km downstream from the Farakka barrage when the water level of Farakka barrage area bare the riverbed in summer and winter.
After the construction of the barrage, the area will likely produce an additional 25 lakh tonnes of rice and 2.4 lakh tonnes of fish a year. Also, some 52 lakh hectares of land could be brought under cultivation in different agricultural projects. The main barrage could also be used to generate 113MW electricity. The Delta Plan will incorporate Integrated Jamuna-Padma river stabilisation and land reclamation project. The projects under the Delta Plan would be jointly funded by the government, Green Climate Fund, development partners, the private sector and from the foreign direct investment.
Undeniably attractive but without an in-depth feasibility study and environmental effect study, the utopian plan has no significance. And when its implementation rests on next government, approval from the NEC has also no implication, except providing some points in ruling party election manifesto.