Dhaka likely to receive $1 billion assistance from Beijing for an irrigation project

Bangladesh is likely to receive a $1-billion assistance from China for an irrigation project on the Teesta which has been at the centre of a water-sharing negotiation with India. The mega engineering project will help the river to maintain optimal levels during summer.

The decision was taken after the Teesta water-sharing agreement with India has failed to materialise, Bangaldesh government sources told Eurasianreview, an online publication. The issue has come to the forefront as Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, despite the COVID-19 threat, is expected to pay a day-long visit to Dhaka on Tuesday to deal with the emerging challenges in bilateral ties.

The online publication said the Ministry of Finance had asked for $853 million to implement the Teesta River Comprehensive Management and Restoration project in the northern district of Rangpur. The Chinese loan is a landmark in the relations as it will seal the fate of the India-Bangladesh Teesta water sharing agreement which failed to take off as India’s plans to offer Bangladesh its share of the waters was stuck in political fight between Delhi and West Bengal.

“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, told news media in Bangladesh.”

Bangladesh has been demanding a greater share of the Teesta to maintain higher levels during December and May when the water tends to dry up in parts which creates difficulties for agriculture sector of northern Bangladesh. However, the agreement failed to take off despite repeated assertions from Prime Minister Narendra Modi about India’s commitment to go ahead with the landmark agreement.

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