Bangladesh is dependent on India for oil, cereals, iron, steel, etc. But its purchasing power has been hit, with money being diverted to damage control.
NEW DELHI: Unprecedented floods in Bangladesh have affected around 7.2 million people. Since Bangladesh is dependent on India for the import of oils, cereals, iron, steel and so on, annual floods affect the purchasing power of the nation, leading to an economic balance between Bangladesh and India.
“It is important to realise that the annual floods in Bangladesh affect the purchasing power since Bangladesh will be investing more funds on damage reconstruction, reducing GDP and foreign reserve, so India will not be able to export its materials to the neighbouring country,” a political observer on India-Bangladesh, Tapas Das, told The Sunday Guardian.
With around 35 million tonnes produced yearly, Bangladesh is historically the third-largest producer of rice in the world, and almost all of that production is used to feed its population. To deal with shortages brought on by floods or droughts, imports are still frequently needed. In June 2022, the Sylhet region of Bangladesh witnessed the worst flooding in 122 years. As a result of the climate crisis, internal migration has increased, creating more disruptions during floods. Human actions like river grabbing, wetland grabbing, encroachment and so on had led to intense floods in Sylhet.
Not only Bangladesh, but India also witnessed severe floods in the northeastern region. Heavy rains in Assam and Meghalaya led to floods in India and Bangladesh as the rivers in the Brahmaputra basin flowing downwards could not reach the Bay of Bengal, although people living near the Brahmaputra region started taking measures like building flooding structures, hanging beds and so on. Bangladesh Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre has stated that the heavy rains in Assam and Meghalaya may lead to two rounds of floods due to unplanned embankment. The first round of floods took place on 10 May 2022, and the second round of floods took place on 16 June. Such severe floods also affect people psychologically. While speaking of the solution to tackle annual flooding problems, a researcher on South Asian policy and security issues, Debabrata Sen, told this newspaper. “There is an urgent need for a holistic approach between the two countries to deal with floods or avoid the ravages of floods.
Communicating with the ordinary people to understand the ground scenario along with the holistic approach between the two countries is the need of the hour.”
Adding more on solutions, Das recommended, “The possibility of implementing low-cost measures such as planting grass and shrubs, that spread by layer along river banks is the easiest way. Excess water can be channelled into other water-courses through canal systems to increase irrigation capacity.”