Environmentalists protest Indian move to build barrages on Ganges

Environmentalists in Bangladesh strongly protested an Indian government plan to construct 16 barrages on the Ganges River in the upstream of the Farakka under a project called ‘Ganges waterway’.

Such a step would cause further disaster to the ecology of downstream Bangladesh and would also kill the Ganges, leaders of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon said at a press conference today.

map-of-gangaA barrage in every 100 kilometres from Allahabad to Haldia of the river—as planned—would be the ‘last nail on the coffin of the Ganges’, the Bangladeshi campaigners said.

Citing reports published in the Indian newspapers and statements made by Indian environmentalist groups, the green activists demanded scrapping of the plan.

It would be the ‘last nail on the coffin of the Ganges’, they observed.

They also called for removing all existing structures built on the international rivers and asked the government to raise the issue at the Saarc summit to be held in Kathmandu next month.

According to news reports and statements of environmentalists groups, Indian government would build those barrages to ensure navigation of three metres of water for their steamers in the waterway stretching 1620km between Allahabad and Haldia.

Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley named their 1620km ‘national waterway project-1’ project as Jal Marg Vikas in the Budget speech and allocated Rs 4,200 crore for it.

Dr Abdul Matin of Bapa read out the written statement held at the conference room of the Dhaka Reporters’ Unity where Prof SI Khan, former environment planner of United Nations, and Dr Mahmudur Rahman, representative of Bangladesh Environment Network, replied to questions from journalists.

-Star Online