Nicaragua plans to build a parallel Panama Canal
Moving a step further for the fulfillment of its ambitious plan of constructing a canal to compete with Panama Canal, Nicaraguan lawmakers granted a Hong Kong company the right to build a $40-billion cross-country shipping canal linking Pacific Ocean to Atlantic Ocean.
Feasibility of the Project:
As per experts, Nicaragua will have to face huge technical, environmental, and cost challenges while executing the project. It would entail slashing through around 180 miles of thick tropical terrain — roughly triple the length of the Panama Canal — and then pumping a virtual sea through a series of locks deep enough for massive cargo ships.
Nicaragua has laid out two possible sites for the project: along the San Juan River, near the border with Costa Rica, and through several large drainage areas that support much of the country’s agriculture.
If Nicaragua builds it near the border of Cost Rica, then, as per several treaties, it has to ask the country for its approval, which is unlikely given recent land disputes with Nicaragua.
And if it constructs the canal through the drainage areas, it would be more expensive and raise environmental concerns and disputes over water. Some of those concerns are already emerging. The $40bn (£25bn) plan has been criticized by environmentalists, who say cargo ships will create a permanent risk to Lake Nicaragua.
Why Nicaragua wants to build the canal?
Nicaraguan leaders have for centuries dreamt of building a canal linking its Caribbean coast to the Pacific. One of the most important reasons is it geographic position and the other, as it sees, a gate to prosperity.
But the opposition says that the project would yield nothing but environmental damage as the Hong Kong developer has been granted a 50-year concession on the project and the project if goes through Lake Nicaragua, it would damage country’s largest freshwater resource too.