A properly developed economic corridor in Jamuna River can add $364 billion to Bangladesh's Gross Domestic Product, a speaker at a seminar said on Monday.
Presenting the keynote paper at the seminar titled "Jamuna River Economic Development Programme: preparing prospect, challenge and technique", organised by the Awami League sub-committee on science and technology affairs, Water resource expert Dr SM Habibullah Bahar said the initial plan for such a corridor – which could cost around $12 billion – could be made after conducting a holistic study.
"Effective river training and bank protection, stabilisation using the main river and its minor channels, efficient sediment management plan, flood protection without impacting the upstream and downstream floods need to be done [for this]," Bahar said.
He said feasibility studies on river training, bank protection, river stabilisation and land reclamation, as well as on navigation improvement, were also required.
"All this will cost around $12 billion but the investment will add $364 billion to the GDP," he said.
The expert recommended conducting holistic technical studies of the Jamuna River, other connected rivers, tributaries and distributaries before going forward with the plans.
To solve the excessive sedimentation, Bahar, also a professor of a university in Canada, recommended having a sediment master plan and management technique.
Deputy Minister for Water Resources AKM Enamul Hoque, speaking on the occasion, said the government was focused on river development, and generating income and employment through it.
There are now river-related projects worth Tk5,500 crore focused on sediment management and bank protection, added the deputy minister.