From Volume 37, Issue 29 of EIR Online, Published July 30, 2010

Global Economic News

Three Gorges Dam Gives Lie to Its Critics

July 20 (EIRNS)—While large portions of southern China, in Guangdong and Sichuan, have been hit by an excessive amount of rain, causing major flooding in south and central China, the area along the Yangtze River, which in previous years had been devastated by such floods, has been little affected, thanks to the Three Gorges Dam.

This is the first major flood-control test of the world's largest dam, which had been a major target of radical environmentalists when it was begun. The flow on the river's upper reaches topped 70,000 cubic meters a second today—20,000 cubic meters more than the flow during the 1998 floods that killed 4,150 people, the highest level since the dam was completed last year, and only slightly below the peak in the 1981 flood, which was even more devastating.

The designed capacity of the dam allows a flow of 100,000 cubic meters/second. The discharged amount from the reservoir has been kept under 40,000 cubic meters per second, which means that the dam blocked 43% of upstream water and prevented severe flooding in the lower reaches, said Cao Guanjing, the Three Gorges Dam Corporation's chairman. The Corporation had reduced the reservoir's water level to below 146 meters before the rainy season. The reservoir has a capacity of more than 20 billion cubic meters, as the water level can rise to as high as 175 meters.

India and Bangladesh Undertake Major Rail Projects

July 21 (EIRNS)—India and Bangladesh have taken up several major projects to interlink each other's rail and road infrastructure to facilitate access to Southeast Asia. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced a line of credit of $1 billion, during Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's state visit to India on June 10-13, for a range of projects including railway infrastructure and dredging projects. The first of the 14 projects earmarked is procurement of six high-powered dredgers at a cost of around $71.7 million. One of the dredgers will be used for dredging at Mongla Port, three for the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority and two for the Bangladesh Water Development Board. Hasina, in her meeting with Singh, sought Indian help for dredging of rivers for flood control, navigation, and access to ports.

The prime focus of the railroad projects is to interlink by railroad, northeast India, Nepal, and Bhutan to Bangladesh's two main ports, Chittagong and Mongla. Nepal and Bhutan are landlocked countries, and major parts of northeast India have no access to the sea either. The lines drawn by the departing British colonials had created these discontinuities.

However, after 63 years since the British Raj left the area, efforts are at last afoot to interconnect the entire northeastern part of the Indian subcontinent to Southeast Asia. According to reports from the Bangladesh government, the Indian Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure has recently approved construction of four-lane, 45-mile Krishnanagar-Baharampore highway for a North-South road link in the state of West Bengal, as it passes through the state longitudinally, and connects the northeastern states and neighboring countries such as Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh, according to a recent statement of the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways of India.

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