Ahammad Parvej Khan
Terming the Delta Plan as greatest gift of the present generation for the future generations, experts opine that proper and timely implementation of this mega plan can boost the GDP growth by further 1.5 percent by 2030.
The government will need to raise $37 billion by 2030 for the implementation of the much talked about Delta Plan in its three phases. The short-term plan is scheduled to be implemented by 2030, a mid-term plan by 2050, and a long-term plan is targeted to be implemented by the year 2100.
Sources said a total of 26 studies were conducted so far by local experts who have selected at least 80 projects to be implemented under the plan.
Bangladesh is likely to get $2 billion assistance from Green Climate Fund every year while the remaining costs will be met by other development partners, foreign direct investment, and the private sector – which is expected to contribute 20 percent.
Planning Ministry sources said at present the government spends only 0.8 percent of GDP for delta related work but the figure has to be made three times higher to 2.5 percent of GDP.
Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said implementation of Delta Plan will bring about massive changes all over Bangladesh. Most important resources of the country are the water resources and Delta Plan is related to mostly river management, flood control, internal shipping transportation strategy etc.
Stressing on proper utilization of these resources, he said at one stage the nation will certainly not lag behind in agriculture and will grow economically. “The Netherlands has benefitted greatly by adopting such a plan as the country was able to reclaim around 6,000 square kilometers of land in addition to their mainland,” he said.
The State Minister for Finance and Planning MA Mannan told Bangladesh Post that the Delta Plan is the longest term plan which is very much time befitting and relevant to the dream visions of the government of Sheikh Hasina.
“As it’s a long term vision, I believe that this plan will require some adjustments in different phases of its implementation process and the government will have to do all that for ensuring proper implementation”, State Minister added.
He said the Delta Plan is a vision and we will follow it and also hope that the government, whoever comes to power in the next term, will also follow this because it is all about the development of grassroots people of the country.
“The Delta Plan is a unique one globally and it is the brain child of our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. This plan will no doubt attach huge importance and attraction by the people as well because its for their betterment and well being”, M A Mannan said.
Senior Secretary and Member of general Economic Division (GED), Planning Commission of Bangladesh, Prof Shamsul Alam said the Delta Plan-2100 is completely a Bangladesh’s own mega plan which is comprehensive universal and has been kept in consideration to be adjustable with changes of time.
“In the stable socio-economic development of the country, this plan will be a long term roadmap of the future. It is the greatest gift of the present generation for the future generations of Bangladesh”, Dr. Alam added.
He said the plan highlighted six hotspots like coastal areas; Barind Tract and drought-prone region; haor (backswamp) and flash flood prone areas; Chittagong Hill Tracts region; river region and estuaries; and the urban region.
To execute the Delta Plan 2100, a high-level Delta Governance Council will be formed to make decisions and issue directives. This will be led by the prime minister, with the planning minister as vice-president.
Another project or operations selection body will be formed by GED member while the secretaries of the ministries related to the Delta Plan will be committee members.
World’s largest delta is Bangladesh having rivers and floodplains that make up 80 percent of the country, extending support to the lives, livelihoods and the economy.
The country faces major inter-related delta challenges in water safety, food security and socio-economic development and is prone to natural calamities such as floods, cyclones, and droughts.