IT is disquieting to see that India is unilaterally withdrawing waters from some trans-boundary rivers of which Gidari is the latest instance. Reportedly, India has been building a barrage on that river, without even informing the lower riparian Bangladesh, just 400 metres upstream and digging canals to divert the water.
The barrage will create disaster for the inhabitants of the area since the river is the life line of irrigation in dry season there. In the rainy season, the area will be flooded due to release of excess water through the barrage and in the lean season it will dry up.
Though the river covers a comparatively small area, we cannot make light of it. This diversion project is perceived to be a part of India's inter-river linking project which poses a great risk to our ecology; symptoms of which are already apparent in northern and south-western parts of Bangladesh. In a recent report it was revealed that Bangladesh loses phenomenally in agriculture every year due to India's unilateral withdrawal of water from trans-boundary rivers.
It is surprising that though the construction of the barrage on Gidari river has been going on for two months, the government is yet to lodge any protest with India, let alone take up the matter with the neighbouring country. The Joint River Commission is the right forum that needs to be activated to address Bangladesh's genuine concerns over natural flows of trans-boundary rivers.