DHAKA, 28 June 2022, (TON): The government has sought $1 billion in loans as a budgetary support from the World Bank to contain the rising inflation in the country.
The ongoing Russia-Ukraine war has pushed the inflation up everywhere in the world.
According to the Economic Relations Division officials “a formal letter seeking the loan has been sent to the World Bank in the past week following recommendations by the finance division, which is now facing pressure to maintain ballooning subsidy on fertilizer, food and energy.”
The amount of subsidy on energy and fertilizer is likely to be Tk 50,000 crore in the new financial year following the price hike of those items in the international market while the monthly inflation in the country hit over 7 per cent in May, highest in the past one decade.
The ERD officials said “the finance division would hold talks on the World Bank conditions for the proposed budgetary support.”
CAIRO, 28 June 2022, (TON): A delegation from the Saudi National Real Estate Committee has held talks with the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones in Egypt on how to boost investment cooperation between the two countries.
The talks were led by Mohamed Abdullah Abdel Aziz Al-Murshed, who chairs the Saudi committee, and Mohamed Abdel-Wahab, CEO of the Egyptian investment authority.
Also present were Tariq Shukri, who chairs Egypt’s real estate development chamber, and representatives of 27 leading Saudi companies in the fields of real estate development, industry, agriculture and building materials.
According to a press release “the meeting followed the visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Egypt, on the sidelines of which 14 investment agreements were signed between the two nations.”
KHARTOUM, 28 June 2022, (TON): Sudan said “it will recall its ambassador to Addis Ababa for consultations following accusations that the Ethiopian army executed seven captured Sudanese soldiers and a civilian.”
Sudanese armed forces said “in an act that contravenes all laws and customs of war and international humanitarian law, the Ethiopian army executed seven Sudanese soldiers and a citizen who were their captives.”
The army said “this treacherous act will not pass, vowing to respond to this cowardly behavior.”
Tensions have risen in recent years, sparking sporadic armed clashes, over the Al-Fashaqa border strip which is close to Ethiopia’s troubled Tigray region.
There was no immediate response from Ethiopia.
A Sudanese military official who requested anonymity told “the soldiers were taken into captivity from a border area close to the Al-Fashaqa region.”
NEW DELHI, 28 June 2022, (TON): German Chancellor Olaf Scholz welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G7 Summit where the leaders of the world's seven richest countries will discuss various important global issues, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine, food security and counter-terrorism.
Prime Minister Modi, who is in Germany on a two-day visit from Sunday for the summit of the G7, was received by Scholz upon his arrival at Schloss Elmau, the picturesque venue of the summit in southern Germany.
External Affairs Minister spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted "working together for 'Progress towards an equitable world'. German Chancellor Bundes Kanzler Olaf Scholz welcomes PM Narendra Modi to the G7 Summit at Schloss Elmau.”
Before the start of the summit, Prime Minister Modi shook hands with US President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as the leaders assembled for a group photo.
DHAKA, 28 June 2022, (TON): Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has proposed “the United Kingdom, a global leader in justice and human rights, could consider resettling 1,00,000 Myanmar Rohingyas currently sheltered in Bangladesh to give them a better life and lessen the unfair Rohingya burden on Bangladesh.”
Momen made the proposal during a bilateral meeting with his British counterpart Elizabeth Truss.
Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK Saida Muna Tasneem was present during the meeting that took place in Kigali on the sidelines of the just-held Commonwealth Summit.
British Secretary of State Elizabeth Truss thanked Bangladesh’s generous hosting of the Rohingyas and responded that “while the UK could look into it, the best solution to the Rohingya crisis, however, lies in their safe and sustainable return to their homeland in Myanmar.”
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen meets his British counterpart Elizabeth Truss during a bilateral meeting in Rwanda UNB.
DHAKA, 28 June 2022, (TON): Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader told the parliament that the construction cost of Padma Bridge would be realised from tolls by 2057.
The minister said this while replying to a tabled question from rAwami League MP Momota Hena Lovely.
He said "Bangladesh Bridge Authority will repay all the loans given by the government in 140 quarterly installments in 35 years with the toll collected from vehicles plying on the Padma Bridge.”
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the 6.15km Padma Bridge on June 25, connecting 21 south-western districts with Dhaka.
DHAKA, 28 June 2022, (TON): Saudi Arabia ambassador in Dhaka Essa Youssef Essa Al Duhailan laid emphasis on direct shipping between Chattogram and Jeddah while his country is willing to invest more in Bangladesh.
A press release said “the envoy made the remarks while called on State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam at the foreign ministry here.”
During the meeting, the Ambassador congratulated Bangladesh government for successful completion of Padma Multipurpose Bridge under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
By R. Hassan (TON Bangladesh)
Bangladesh and India are members of sub-regional organizations like the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) and the BBIN initiative (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal), where they find common ground on issues facing their neighboring countries, to begin with. Let us describe the water woes between Bangladesh and India:
There are already more than 100 Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) in place between India and Bangladesh, covering various topics from trade to water allotment. Disputes over water resources between India and Bangladesh date back when Bangladesh was still East Pakistan.
In 1961, India began construction of the Farakka Barrage, which would be operational by April 1975. The barrage was designed to divert a portion of the dry-season flow and boost the navigability of Calcutta (now Kolkata) harbor. In 1950-51, when India began preliminary planning for the project, Pakistan raised to worry about the project’s possible impact on East Pakistan.
A total of five meetings between India and Pakistan to discuss the subject were held between 1960 and 1969. India insisted that negotiations should be based on facts after the exchange of pertinent material. India’s plan to build an embankment dam over the river Barak, the upper part of the river Meghna in India, to control flooding and generate power is a more recent source of contention between India and Bangladesh. Churachandrapur District in Manipur will host the dam, which will submerge portions of Manipur and Mizoram. After construction, it will be 162.8 meters high and 390 meters long. The Maximum Water Level (MWL) is planned to be 178 meters high from the Full Reservoir Levee Level (FRL), which is 175 meters MSL.
This has been a contentious endeavor since its inception. As the largest dam in India’s Northeast, the project will be located in one of the world’s most seismically active regions. A biodiversity hotspot not only in India but throughout the world, the region is situated. And the Hmar people, a Kuki tribe, have their whole lives and culture linked with the river. They oppose the dam, claiming that it will destroy their lives and the lives of their families.
This project will permanently submerge 291.5 square kilometers of farmland at FRL, according to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study from 2007. (275.5 sq. km. in Manipur and 16 sq. km. in Mizoram).  This will permanently submerge an area of 311 square kilometers, including 229,111 acres of forest and 81,89 acres of farmland and settlements; according to various news reports, There were 31 settlements included in the 1984 survey official number dropped to 15 as of 1998. It was further decreased to eight in the NEEPCO report of 2000, while the AFCL report of 2007 predicts the displacement of 12 small communities.  In other independent studies, the 311 sq. km.
Great rivers (Brahmaputra, Meghna, and the Ganges) originate in other nations. The amount of water that eventually makes its way to Bangladesh is considerably limited by the rising populations of China and India, which are the world’s largest economies. There are only 7% of the watersheds for these rivers in Bangladesh. Consequently, the Bengalis are powerless over the amount of water they obtain from these sources.
India has a strategic advantage over Bangladesh because of its geographical location. 94 % of Bangladesh’s surface water comes from outside the country. Bangladesh is especially subject to decisions made upstream, such as the construction and operation of dams in China and India. Especially with the Farakka Barrage, India relies on its military and economic strength to act independently in water-sharing scenarios.
The barrage reduces Kolkata’s salinity, but Bangladesh’s river salinity has increased due to the redirection of the Ganges. Due to the increasing sensitivity of rice paddies to salinity, Bangladesh’s food security is threatened. There are negative repercussions on Bangladesh’s ecosystem from reduced river flow, especially in Sundarbans mangrove forest. Due to forest degradation, Bangladesh’s timber production has decreased, and the government has suffered an economic loss.
India and Bangladesh share a river, the Teesta, which flows across both countries. This transboundary river relationship, like many others, has been plagued with challenges. Nearly 21 million people rely on the Teesta River Basin for their livelihoods. Bangladesh relies on the Teesta River for irrigation, agriculture, and residents’ livelihoods; therefore reaching an agreement on the river’s use is crucial.
Since a significant part of the dam shared is within The Indian Territory, India takes the upper hand and has the majority of the water. Incredibly, sometimes, the Indian Govt. releases dams so suddenly that the Northern Regions of Bangladesh get poorly flooded.
Although some progress has been made but generally, India has kept this matter on its side, and Bangladeshi people want some solutions here. The agreements signed on this between Bangladesh and India should quickly come to light and execution to use water safely and live in harmony. In addition other related issue need to be resolved.
By TON Nepal
In this era of scientific progression, revolution and obtainability permit to certainly tap and dispense water at places where there is a demand. In this regard, the geographic location, or height, and distance is no more a hurdle. Although it cost differently to benefit from its pumping water, sources and distribution. The necessity of tapping the undiscovered resources of water for agriculture and domestic use in Nepal is more than ever.
In Nepal, the problem of water scarcity and lack of potable water for household use and agriculture has affected its products at significance level. In Nepal for the last two decades considerable areas of land are abandoned as lands without any utilization while some are partially used for summer farming only when there is enough of rain. The poor managing of available water resources seems to be the main reason behind the water scarcity in agriculture and drinking and hygiene purposes.
Lack of water management, harvesting, distribution and misuse in the households and for irrigation, has been a continuing practice in the country. About 16 per cent of households have no access to simple drinking water. Out of the 4.12 million hectares of agriculture land, about 1.76 million hectares is being use for irrigation proposes. Most agriculture fields are settled along the river valleys of Nepal, barely a few meters overhead the river.
Large volumes of water are flowing in the rivers continuously just below the agriculture fields across the country. Weather and climate favor year-round cropping of vegetables, cereals and other high-value crops in the river valleys of Nepal.
However, the demand for food requirements is increasing day by day in the country while production and crop of the agricultural lands are declining, causing in food insecurity in many parts of the country. Due to lack of irrigation amenities, maximum of the lands are left unfertile and uninhibited deprived of proper use. Though, locally available water resources can easily be tapped and used for various purposes, from irrigating our fields to domestic uses.
The existing water scarcity for family and farming use from the lowlands to the mid-hills is largely due to the managing debacle. No noteworthy efforts have been made to drive water from the running rivers for irrigation and home uses. As per estimate of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), about 210 billion cubic meters of water run out of Nepal every year.
The water volume of the rivers in Nepal is chiefly added by rainy season precipitation along with the melting of snowflake and glaciers flow. The per inhabitant water availability is 8,000 cubic meters per year, but the per inhabitant water withdrawal is only 359 cubic meters per year, well underneath the lowest water demand of the populations. Surely, depending on the geography of the country and location, uneven availability of water exists in the river basins
The people are abandoning agriculture fields in the country areas owing to relocation and foreign occupation, resulting in falling food production. Tens of millions of dollars have been spent on water reaping, placing pipes, and providing water by both the government and development organizations, but the production is seldom noticeable in Nepal.
More than 60 per cent of climate change adaptation activities and funds are focused on agriculture, irrigation, water supply and water-related hazards but with no significant results. Population growth, land use and climate change all affect water requirements, which demand better ways of harvesting and distributing water.
Climate change is further expected to exacerbate the severity of water stress. Climate change is affecting every component of the water cycle, quantity and frequency of precipitation, precipitation extremes, floods, drought, soil moisture, glacier melt and ground water.
Today’s technological advancement, innovation and availability allow us to easily tap and distribute water at places where there is a demand. Geographic location, or elevation, or distance is no longer a barrier. Some may argue that the cost-benefit analysis of pumping water from its source and redistributing it may not allow for successful harvesting of water.
But this is a readymade answer given by the authorities to conceal their inability to address the water issue. Water scarcity could be slashed with existing low-cost technologies. Economically viable water pumping systems are emerging and are available in the market. It just needs a little effort to highlight the finest choice. Solar water pumping, or photovoltaic water pumping is another solution.
This energy source is sustainable from every aspect implementing monetarily and ecologically. To solve these issues related with reducing food production, there must be proper use of all wastelands and uninhibited lands, together private and government-owned, for agriculture.
The main thing is to apply the available local means for the development of output and elevating the living standard of People in Nepal. All the possible means at the native, provincial and national levels must be highlighted. The priority should be given to self-reliance in agricultural products. If each of the local levels think of making their local units sustainable in food and agricultural products, the dependency on other countries can be finished progressively with passage of time.
WASHINGTON, 27 June 2022, (TON): The White House said “United States aims to raise $200 billion in private and public funds over five years to fund needed infrastructure in developing countries under a G7 initiative aimed at countering China's multitrillion-dollar Belt and Road project.”
US President Joe Biden will unveil the plans, flanked by other Group of Seven leaders, some of whom have already unveiled their own separate initiatives, at their annual gathering being held this year at Schloss Elmau in southern Germany.
Increasingly worried about China, G7 leaders first floated plans for the project last year, and are formally launching it now under a fresh title, "Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment" while dropping the moniker "Build Back Better World" first coined by Biden during his presidential campaign.