The International Farakka Committee (IFC) yesterday demanded that the government sign a new agreement with India on water-sharing of the Ganges and other rivers on the basis of coordinated river basin management, to ensure adequate flow of water into Bangladesh.
They said the existing 30-year agreement signed with India will expire in 2026, and a fresh agreement needs to be inked to ensure adequate water flow into the rivers flowing from the Himalayan river basin.
Chairman of IFC Bangladesh chapter and former VC of Jahangirnagar University Prof Jasim Uddin made the demand at a views-exchange meeting at Dhaka Reporters’ Unity.
IFC Senior vice-chairman and water expert Dr SI Khan, central leader of New York-based IFC Ataur Rahman and its coordinator, senior journalist Mostafa Kamal Majumder were also present.
The committee said all countries in the region, including Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Bhutan and Pakistan, are signatories to the UN’s Global Water Partnership which is pursuing river basin-based coordinated water management to ensure uninterrupted flow of water into countries which cross international rivers.
“But unfortunately, such river basin-based water management is not taking place in sharing the waters of the rivers flowing from the Himalayan basin,” said SI Khan, also a Bangladesh representative in UN on water issue. He said Bangladesh has not been getting its rightful stake in water due to this dam, resulting in desertification in the country’s north.
“Now many Indian experts, social activists, political parties and even the chief minister of Bihar state are demanding the removal of Farakka Barrage for the sake of uninterrupted water flow, as this barrage has caused enormous damage to them,” said Mostafa Kamal Majumder.
The IFC leaders said Bangladesh has already sent a letter to the Joint River Commission of the two countries about not getting the due share of the water under the ‘96-Ganges Water Treaty.
They said the two nations are enjoying best time of relations, which should be utilised by Bangladesh to ensure share of water of all 54 rivers flowing from the Himalayan basin.