Teesta faces severe drop in flow
WE share the concern of the Bangladesh government wholeheartedly about the alarming drop in the flow of Teesta water into our territory. As far as we know, it has reached a record low from 5,000 to 500 cusec at this time of the year. The opportunity for reaching an agreement has been floundering ever since PM Manmohan Singh's visit to Dhaka back in 2012 after considerable groundwork having been made on the issue.
It is of little surprise that water levels of Teesta have dropped drastically, as obstructions such as dams have been erected on tributaries of Teesta in Sikkim to reduce winter flows coming down the plains. Again, water coming down from Sikkim hills is being diverted by the Gazaldoba barrage through a link to the Upper Mahnanda River. While such diversion of water is undoubtedly aiding agriculture in India through irrigating nearly 100,000 hectares of land, it is posing a crisis for the Teesta irrigation project in Lalmonirhat.
It is imperative that some agreement is reached to assure the minimum amount of water to meet our irrigation needs and preserve our ecology. Experts believe that based on historical water flow data, Bangladesh's share should not fall below 4,500 cusec. That would ensure the sustainability of the river and preserve the biodiversity of areas adjacent to it. However, without the inking of an accord, no verbal commitments are of any avail. We certainly hope that diplomatic efforts will be redoubled to reach such an agreement sooner rather than later since Bangladesh cannot afford any more delay on the issue.