Speakers at a press conference yesterday urged the government to ensure fair share of trans-boundary rivers, like Teesta, from India before helping the neighbouring country by giving its own water.
Bhasani Onusari Porishod, a civic platform formed following the ideology of legendary politician Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhasani, organised the press conference on the Feni agreement at Jatiya Press Club in the capital.
Speaking at the event, Dhaka University Professor Emeritus Serajul Islam Choudhury said the government can share water with neighbours, but it has to protect its own interest first.
“Sharing has to be fair. How could we give our water [from Feni] to others when we are not getting proper share [form Teesta]?” he said.
“Water is a vital issue for us. We cannot live without it,” said the eminent professor. He also suggested the government to from a national committee for rivers, which will take care of the water-sharing issues.
The platform’s Secretary General Rafiqul Islam Bablu, citing several media reports, said India is already taking 72 cusec water, much more than the agreement of 1.82 cusec, from Feni by setting up 36 pumps at different locations of the river.
“If India continues to take water in such a way -- with and without agreement -- the rivers’ flow will reduce significantly in the coming days, drying it out eventually,” said Rafiqul, who along with an 11-member team visited the river recently.
He demanded that the government negotiate with India to remove those pumps and sign Teesta water-sharing treaty before implementation of the Feni agreement.
On October 5, Bangladesh signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with India allowing the country to take 1.82 cusec water from Feni river for drinking purposes of the people of Sabroom town in Tripura, located near the river.