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The Government of India supports 04 provinces in the Mekong Delta to overcome losses from the drought and salinity in the dry season of 2019 - 2020

On the morning of September 23rd, 2020 in Can Tho City, The Embassy of India in Hanoi held the signing ceremony of the agreement to sponsor 07 small-scale projects for 04 provinces in the Mekong Delta including Tien Giang, Ben Tre, Hau Giang and Kien Giang with a total value of USD 350,000 from the Mekong - Ganges Fund to overcome the consequences of the drought and salinity in the 2019 - 2020 dry season. Attending the ceremony, there were Mr. Pranay Verma - Ambassador Extraordinary of the Republic of India to Vietnam, Mr. Madan Mohan Sethi - Consul General of India in Ho Chi Minh City, Mr. Nguyen Truc Son - Vice Chairman of Ben Tre Provincial People's Committee, Mr. Truong Canh Tuyen - Vice Chairman of Hau Giang Provincial People's Committee, Director of Tien Giang Department of Foreign Affairs, Director of Kien Giang Department of Natural Resources and Environment, and representatives of agencies to receive funding. The funding focuses on water resource management and investment in rainwater storage projects, construction of freshwater reservoirs, clean water supply pipelines, irrigation systems to prevent saltwater intrusion... It is known that these 07 projects are among 26 quick impact projects supported by the Government of India for 22 provinces and cities of Vietnam under the Mekong- Ganges Cooperation Program, of which 13 projects have been completed and 12 new projects will be implemented in the fiscal year of 2020-2021.

(Photo: N.D)

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Ms. Pham Thi Anh - Deputy Director General, Department of Economic Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Mekong - Ganges Cooperation Initiative was formed in 2000. This is one of the oldest sub-regional cooperation mechanisms in the Mekong region, with the participation of India and 5 regional countries: Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. The objective of cooperation is to strengthen solidarity and friendship among countries, promote trade, economic development, and contribute to improving the quality of life of people in the Mekong and Ganges river basins. At the 6th Mekong - Ganges River cooperation Foreign Ministers' Meeting (September 2012), India announced the establishment of a Quick Impact Projects Fund to support countries in the Mekong region to build projects to serve people in the disadvantaged areas. Up to now, with the support from the Foundation, Vietnam has 9 projects being completed, 5 projects under the process of implementation and 12 projects which will be implemented in the period of 2020-2021. These projects have contributed to improving the quality of life of Vietnamese people, especially in areas and localities that are still struggling hardship; at the same time creating a beautiful image for Mekong - Ganges cooperation on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the cooperation framework.

(Photo: N.D)

According to Mr. Pranay Verma - Ambassador Extraordinary of the Republic of India to Vietnam, the grant is small, but clearly shows the sentiments of the Government and the People of India to the Vietnamese people in general and the people of the Mekong Delta provinces in particular, who have suffered much due to global climate change. And especially, the procedure for signing the sponsorship agreement is very compact and only takes place within 6 months from the time when the two sides have an agreement in principles. Recently, the Government of India has identified developing its cooperation with Vietnam as an important pillar of the "Comprehensive Strategic Partnership" between India and Vietnam; at the same time, the two sides also constantly nurture the good traditional relationship between the two peoples and have a common voice in international and regional forums, contributing to the prosperous development of the Indo-Pacific region.

Presenting his sincere thanks to the support of the Government of India, Mr. Nguyen Truc Son, Vice Chairman of the Provincial People's Committee, said that Ben Tre is a province located at the downstream of the Mekong River. As the people's income mainly based on agriculture, so the socio-economic conditions are still very difficult. In recent years, due to the impacts of climate change, drought situation, saltwater intrusion in the Mekong Delta provinces, especially, as a result Ben Tre province has been increasingly and directly facing threatening on the production and the people's life. Saltwater has penetrated deeply into the inland, greatly affecting the production and living of people. In many places, there is no freshwater storage system, people are forced to buy water storage tools and use fresh water economically to be over the drought and salinity season. Especially in Cho Lach district, many households lack fresh water for living because all their surroundings are contaminated with saltwater. The Thoi Dinh watering projects in Thoi Dinh hamlet, Cho Lach town and in Dinh Binh hamlet, Hoa
Nghia commune, Cho Lach district, Ben Tre province are a small, but very meaningful, expressing the sentiments of the Indian people for Ben Tre people in general and the people of Cho Lach district in particular.

Speaking at the ceremony, Mr. Truong Canh Tuyen - Vice Chairman of Hau Giang Provincial People's Committee also said that as early as 2020, the drought and salinity situation was very harsh and serious. The level is higher and the saltwater intrusion time is longer than the historical saltwater intrusion in the 2015 - 2016 dry season. In order to limit the damage caused by drought and saltwater intrusion to the lowest level, the Provincial People's Committee has developed a plan to direct departments and localities to strengthen coordination in the prevention of drought and saltwater intrusion. However, the resources of Hau Giang province still have many limitations in the face of the complex situation of climate change and fierce salinity and drought. The support of 02 projects: Providing clean water for people in the areas being infested by the drought and salinity; and Building advanced irrigation model, saving water applying technology 4.0 in salinity and drought prevention in Chau Thanh district, Hau Giang province with the scale of each project 50,000 dollars, it can be said that this is timely and very valuable support from the Embassy of India.

For 04 provinces receiving funding, these 07 projects are very practical, contributing to help localities overcome some of the difficulties caused by salinity and drought, especially ensuring the supply of clean water for living of people in the project areas in the future, especially in the context of water from upstream pouring into the Mekong Delta provinces increasingly limited, is causing great concern for the provinces and cities in the region as reported at the meeting of the Prime Minister with leader of provinces and cities in the Mekong Delta on the afternoon of September 23rd, 2020 in Tien Giang to discuss solutions to prevent salinity and drought in the dry season of 2020-2021./.

Translated by the Department of Foreign Affairs


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