A Bangladeshi consultancy firm will seek assistance from China, Pakistan and Australia to design a barrage over the Ganga river that holds the key to economic prosperity of its vast south-western region.
A purchase committee headed by Finance Minister AMA Muhith approved the selection of the consulting firm to carry out the feasibility and detailed engineering model study of what will be the biggest project in Bangladesh's history, New Age newspaper said on Friday.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government has initiated the process for facilitating poverty reduction and economic growth through an integrated water management project after successive governments in the past three decades failed to make headway.
"We are going to commission the detailed engineering study of the Ganga Barrage within months as this is one of the priority projects of the government," said Water Resources Minister Romesh Chandra Sen.
Bangladesh refers to the Ganga river system that flows from India as Padma.
Sen said that the barrage would facilitate and expedite the development of some 21 districts of the country's south-western region near India's West Bengal state, including Rajshahi, Pabna, Jessore, Kushtia, Narail, Khulna, Satkhira, Bagerhat, Faridpur, Rajbari, Gopalganj, Barisal and Bhola.
He said that if the barrage is built, it will increase the navigability of the rivers in that region, reduce salinity in the rivers, increase production in agriculture and fisheries, increase the flow of sweet water and ultimately save the Sundarbans, a World Heritage Site.